Greens back calls for Auckland – Hamilton train service

Green MPs Keith Locke and Nandor Tanczos — based in Auckland and Hamilton respectively — have backed calls for a commuter rail link between the two cities.

The Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council announced today that they will fund a feasibility study into such a service.

“We are always keen to see investment in and improvement to public transport networks, and a commuter service between Auckland and Hamilton would seem to make a lot of sense,” says Green Party Associate Transport (Auckland) Spokesperson Keith Locke.

“Anything we can do to reduce congestion, conserve fuel and ultimately reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is a good thing, so I hope Land Transport New Zealand will give this option serious consideration when it eventually comes before them.

“I travelled on the final ‘Hamilton Connection’ train journey on 5 October, 2002, and gave flowers to the staff in appreciation of their contribution over the years. I expressed the view then that the service shouldn’t be ended, and committed the Greens to working for its resumption,” Mr Locke says.

Hamilton-based MP Nandor Tanczos has lent his weight to the call, from a practical as well as a political perspective.

“More and more Aucklanders are moving into the Waikato because of housing prices, so commuting is becoming a bigger issue. It makes absolute sense to invest in a commuter line.

“I personally would definitely make use of this service. Every time I go to Auckland I have to drive for two or more hours each way. Being able to stretch out on a train, get out my laptop and papers and do a bit of work would be just great.

“From a social, economic, and ecological point of view I have to say top marks to Hamilton City and to the Waikato Regional Council for raising this issue,” Mr Tanczos says.