March 29, 2017
China interest boost for regional rail
Northland MP Winston Peters says an agreement between China Rail and Northland Regional Council shows the folly of Government policy to run down rail to the regions.
The memorandum of understanding, covering the state owned company’s intention to build road, rail, and digital infrastructure linking Whangarei to NorthPort and Marsden Point, was signed as part of the activities around the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to New Zealand.
China has a $4 trillion One Belt, One Road strategy to create numerous major land and maritime transport corridors around the world.
The New Zealand First leader says the Chinese interest comes after years of the National-led Government and New Zealand Rail refusing to contemplate connecting Northport to the main trunk line.
"The Chinese have come floating in to town and said 'this is serious infrastructure, it’s really important,’ so it has given the total lie to the Government’s position, and KiwiRail’s position I might add, and for that matter a whole lot of economic and transport experts who have done a total somersault in the space of twenty four hours," Mr Peters says.
He says the major questions will be who will build and control the infrastructure, and for Maori, whether any of the work or benefits will flow to local communities along the line.
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