Today marks the launch of KiwiRail. It’s great to have rail back in Kiwi hands, after a decade of asset-stripping. Now comes the task of building up the network so it can provide cheap and clean transport. Businesses are keen to take more freight off the road in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices and long-distance car travel is also getting out of reach for many; KiwiRail will provide an alternative.
For me, the Labour-led Governments’ biggest achievements have been in work rights (ERA, record low unemployment and minimum wage up 9 times in 8 years etc), tackling child poverty (Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc) and in building the infrastructure for a sustainable, fair society the Cullen Fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail. This kind of visionary work is something we only ever see from a leftwing government.
Meanwhile, National has shown how out of touch it is (with economics, the environment, and public opinion) with its pathetic Crosby/Textor line about Cullen buying a â€˜train set’.
All the polls and all the conversations I’ve had show that Kiwis recognise that a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network. They know this will happen now the trains are back in public ownership.