Government still subsidising Te Huia

NewstalkZB reports:

A reduction in funding for the Waikato to Auckland commuter train Te Huia, which was less than expected, may still spell its demise. 

Waikato Regional Council and Te Huia supporters have welcomed news Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will continue to fund the service at a reduced rate. 

It would do this by progressively reducing its contribution to the funding assistance rate (FAR) from 75.5 per cent to 60 percent, starting on 1 July. 

Supporters are claiming the outcome as a victory, but Waikato Regional Councillor Angela Strange would not be drawn on whether it could ensure the survival of the service. 

That is because the council has to go through its long-term plan budget in the next fortnight and work out where it can find the 5.5 percent in FAR that NZTA will drop next year. 

Strange said the announcement was good news but she did not want to pre-empt the long-term plan outcome and could not conclusively say that Te Huia would continue. 

NZTA’s contribution had been expected to drop immediately to 51 percent by those fighting for the train service’s survival. 

Around 97% of each trip is paid for by taxpayers and ratepayers, and 3% by passengers. This is ridiculous and NZTA funding for Te Huia should be no more than any other public transport service.

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