Support in principle for Napier-Wairoa rail line proposal

Source : Hawkes Bay Regional Council. www.hbrc.govt.nz

Original Article here

Wednesday February 18, 2015

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Corporate & Strategic Committee is recommending Council supports in principle a proposal to lease the mothballed Napier to Gisborne Rail line from KiwiRail.
The line was mothballed in December 2012, after storms earlier in the year caused severe damage, which is expected to cost close to $4 million to repair. Council commissioned a business case late last year on whether leasing the line was a good investment for the Council and the region.
An interim business case was presented to today’s Corporate & Strategic Committee meeting recommending Council supports the opening of the rail service from Napier to Wairoa to move logs from a hub in Wairoa to Napier Port, subject to a number of conditions, including lease terms which are suitable to both KiwiRail and HBRC.
KiwiRail set a deadline of 1 March 2015 for the Council to make a decision on whether to lease the line, and at today’s meeting Councillors agreed in principle.
The Committee is recommending a final deadline of 30 June 2015 to resolve all outstanding issues between KiwiRail and HBRC, confirm an operator and private investors and to get a more definitive indication of how much support there is for the proposal from Wairoa forest companies.
It was also recommended Council Chairman Fenton Wilson liaise with all interested parties, including Council’s investment company HBRIC Ltd, the Napier Gisborne Rail Group, Napier Port, and other transport interests and KiwiRail to enhance the prospects of the initiative succeeding.
The recommendations will be considered at next Wednesday’s full council meeting.