Letters : Coastal train

22:34, Dec 20 2012

Coastal train

What concerns me is the indication that the future of the Coastal Pacific train is under review. We have already seen this service curtailed during the off-season and I suspect we could lose it altogether.

The increase in fares on the Coastal Pacific to $109 this year equates to the dearest air fare between here and Christchurch and is certainly not going to encourage local patronage. But are tourists being ripped off in that process?

Rail passenger services are rarely paying propositions anywhere in the world; commuter services even worse as the bulk of the carriage stock lies idle for much of the time away from the morning and evening peaks. But it all goes toward providing service, which many present managers do not recognise.

I am aware of friends and relations in the South Canterbury region who still mourn the loss of rail passenger services south of Christchurch to enable them to head north or south. During my NZR time they were three times daily. For many, a long bus trip is out of the question; no toilets being one of the problems.

Every month, in magazines I get from the UK, I learn of gross overcrowding on many trains and some first class passengers being crammed into toilets because of that overcrowding, despite paying very high fares.


Why the UK persists with the use of first class, with it's limited capacity, I just don't understand. There should be one standard class.

While I am not suggesting anything be done immediately, it is something to keep an eye and ear on to ensure the rail passenger service here remains. For some who may be poor travellers, it is the only way.



Buying support

Successive governments' inability or unwillingness to govern beyond the electoral cycle for the broad and long-term good of all is entirely due to political parties' habit of creating policy to buy the next term. A longer term will not change this.

Political parties are a tool and vehicle for a certain type of person. Their sole purpose is to work as a bloc to buy popular support through policy. In any other setting this would be criminal bribery, manipulation, conspiracy and negligence.

MMP is a last-gasp attempt to save a system that is increasingly discredited and is unsalvageable.

In old and emerging democracies there is a new force rising. It is the independent voter and politician.

An independent MP is accountable to his electorate and not a party hierarchy. Their inherent inability to form a voting bloc outside of parliament will cause parliaments to work how they are supposed to. As a democracy.

Critically, the electoral process will change dramatically. A successful independent candidate will have to be an exceptional person who will have nothing to bring but independence and what other personal qualities the voter finds represents oneself.

In independence there is at work too a spiritual aspect that can only be expressed through a free conscience vote at constituency and parliamentary levels.



Salmon petition

Grant Rosewarne, of King Salmon, may be doing a good job of convincing himself that he is clever and that his media spin is converting us, but he is the only one. Neither, hopefully, will his constant flattering of the EPA board have any influence.

How stupid does he think the people here are? We have the evidence in front of us - thousands of people taking the time and effort to produce quality and well-researched submissions, and local government in opposition is evidence enough that nine new salmon farms are not welcome here.

We realise the economic benefits to Marlborough are miniscule. We believe the health benefits of the product are suspect and inflated. And we believe the pollution produced by the proposed salmon farms is massive - equal to that of 55,000 dairy cows. All of this information was produced in evidence, under oath, at the EPA hearing.

But King Salmon takes these facts again and again, and twists and warps them. Now Mr Rosewarne has resorted to attacking and attempting to discredit the sterling work of 17-year-old Leona Plaisier, which does even less to impress. Mr Rosewarne spins so much he must be dizzy.


Wairau Valley

The Marlborough Express