6 Sep 2012

Call for more roading money for Gisborne region

10:13 am on 6 September 2012

Federated Farmers is challenging the Government to increase road funding for the Gisborne region in light of the plan to keep the railway line closed.

KiwiRail has signalled that it intends to mothball the line between Wairoa and Gisborne because it is economically unviable and would cost more than $4 million to repair slip damage and bring it back into use.

Federated Farmers' Gisborne-Wairoa president Hamish Cave says mothballing is a euphemism for closure, and he thinks it's unlikely the line will re-open.

He says the focus now should be on improving the vulnerable road access to the region for its food producers and exporters.

Mr Cave says access to the south of Gisborne was blocked for a number of days in late March and April due to bad weather at a time when the railway line was also out.

He says if some time and money was spent a road could be provided that allows year round access.

Mr Cave says the Government needs to rethink its road funding priorities and its preoccupation with roads of national significance, and give something back to the provincial areas.