Bridges Contradicts Government Policy Since the 1950s

We know rail is more efficient than trucks for freight

Question Time is usually a dull affair most days but often you get a gem that catches your attention.

Such a gem was delivered by Minister of Transport Simon Bridges on Wednesday in answering a question to Green MP Julie Ann Genter on rail investment.

From the New Zealand Parliament:

Questions for oral answer

Content provider
House of Representatives
Date: 1 July 2015
[Sitting date: 01 July 2015. Volume:706;Page:18. Text is subject to correction.]

12.JULIE ANNE GENTER (Green) to the Minister of Transport : What percentage of the National Land Transport Programme announced yesterday will be spent on new rail infrastructure?


Hon SIMON BRIDGES : I have already answered that, but let us be very clear. In regard to diesel trains, they are some 70 percent more fuel efficient than trucks, and so actually I think we have got to make sure that we make rail as a business sustainable in every sense of the word so it does have a long future here. That also means—and I appreciate this is not something the Green Party takes seriously—making it economically sustainable so that it is a profitable, sustainable company.



Thank you Minister for finally being honest and telling what most of us have already known for a VERY long time. That freight trains are more fuel-efficient than trucks. To go further electric locomotive freight trains especially with 85% of our power coming from renewable sources are even more efficient.

So then why is this Government (and Labour are certainly no better) going on a road and motorway-fest since 1959 when trucks have proven to be inefficient to rail.

On the Minister’s answer alone once the Western Ring Route, and Southern Motorway upgrade is complete THAT IS IT with large-scale road building.

Meaning no more:

What it does mean is more:

  • Improvements to local roads
  • Investment in the Third Main on both the Southern and Eastern Lines
  • Electrification from Te Rapa to Papakura
  • Electrification and eventual full double tracking from Hamilton to Port of Tauranga
  • Encouragement of heavy industry near rail lines to allow multimodal “inland ports” to be built to allow rapid and efficient transfer between truck and train.

However I do not expect the above to be happening any time fast, not when Doing Things The Auckland Way (Since 1959).