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The Labour Party’s adoption of the passenger rail ideas for Waikato and the Bay of Plenty of the Auckland public transport lobby is unrealistic and would be a waste of public money, National Party Transport spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“The Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga rail line is our busiest freight route and simply doesn’t have the capacity to also be a commuter rail line,” Mr Bridges says.

"The only way you could use it for both would be to double track large sections of the line, and Labour doesn’t have any plan to invest for that.

“Labour would kick economy-fuelling freight off this important line and replace it with empty commuter carriages.

“The other and possibly bigger problem is that the journey by train between Auckland and Tauranga takes more than four and a half hours by rail where a car or a bus takes around 2.5 hours and a plane takes around 40 minutes.

“If they are saying that they want to do rapid rail, then that is more for places with the population density of England than here in New Zealand. The population of the Midlands for example is over 10 million people as against the 730,000 in Waikato/Bay of Plenty and the cost of rapid rail there is in the billions of pounds.

“Labour should really do their homework before coming out with ideas cooked up by public transport lobby groups.”

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