Don’t take no for an answer
Cartoon by Trace Hodgson first published in New Zealand Financial Review
Shane Jones could be the ally the Wairarapa needs. His advocacy might make a difference in the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s efforts to get reasonable train services between Wellington and Wairarapa. He also could help bring necessary aviation questions on to the agenda – what did happen to the plan to get services between Masterton and Auckland?
What are the implications for the Wairarapa of the challenges issued by regional development minister Shane Jones? He represents an opportunity the Wairarapa should not waste. He has the courage and the skills to fight some of the Wairarapa’s battles.
NZ First Minister Shane Jones was told by Labour Prime Minister Jacinida Ardern, after he challenged the regional development performance of Air New Zealand, his authority did not extend to removing board members on the national airline.
Act Party MP David Seymour said there were alternative tactics the minister could employ – tactics that leaders of the Wairarapa could employ. “If the Government feels there is a genuine public good in the regional routes that have been shut down, it could set up a government subsidy and put those routes out for tender.”
Earlier this year we reported on how some of New Zealand First’s plans could benefit provision of the Wairarapa’s train services. We wait for the evidence that Greater Wellington Regional Council, with ministers, can fix the train services.
Sooner or later it will be necessary to go in to bat for aviation services linking this region with it’s markets. Shane Jones handled properly could be a friend at court. The wit and wisdom of Shane Jones could help fight some of the battles including financing options.
Out to tender
A regional aviation route that could benefit from funding is the link between Masterton and Auckland along with the Wellington Wairarapa train service. There are other public transport services such as replacing the Manawatu Gorge that need public sector financing.
Development finance options
There are various ways to finance public transport that interested parties could explore. The Masterton regional summit, stimulated discussion on Waitangi Day 2017 and is a potential forum. Perhaps Shane could incorporate the Act suggestion into financing the trains and regional airline services. Can Shane Jones be mobilised to put Wairarapa aviation and other public services on the agenda? There are many ways to skin a cat so don’t take no for an answer.