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Forgive my complete cynicism when I heard Shane Jones disclose recently his prerequisite for getting the Gisborne end of the rail line restored: “Show me a business case” he declared, thus exposing his failure to distinguish between commercial and environmental criteria for public expenditure.
Rail infrastructure should be classed as a public good, qualifying for eco-nomic central bank nil-interest funding. As Social Credit affirmed in our submission to Gisborne District Council’s Spatial Plan last April: “The argument for restoring rail is overwhelmingly environmental.”
Good news that the Gisborne Herald poll shows continuing popular support for rail restoration — but we should worry that the BERL report is not due for another three or four months. Strange that this should follow closely on the report due late August from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Shane Jones’s proposed NZ Infrastructure Commission.
With very little publicity, the first reading for the necessary legislation — designed to encourage more private investment in our infrastructure — was endorsed enthusiastically by all parties. Should this expensive commission be established, there would be more delays while yet another report is issued from another team of talking heads.
What’s the game, Shane Jones?
Heather Marion Smith
This article first appeared on gisborneherald.co.nz
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