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Waka Kotahi: Final say on level crossings

Waka Kotahi NZTA “does not wish to respond” to the promise made by KiwiRail staff at recent public meetings that the rail company will do a better job of consulting the public about proposed closures of railway level crossings in Wairarapa than the transport agency did with its recent SH2 speed review.

KiwiRail has undertaken at its public meetings to consult with the public before finalising any proposals to turn roads with level crossings into dead ends.

At the Carterton public meeting last Monday, KiwiRail Wellington metro manager Alex Maciver said he is aware the community was upset about Waka Kotahi’s recent SH2 public consultation and said KiwiRail will take a different approach, with more respect for public wishes.

“We are aware of how the community feels about Waka Kotahi,” McIver said.

“We are delivering the upgrades to Wairarapa Line, and we don’t want to damage our relationship with the community.”

The Times-Age asked Waka Kotahi to respond to KiwiRail’s comments about its recent consultation efforts regarding speed limits.

Waka Kotahi regional manager Mark Owen said it is up to KiwiRail to manage its engagement with the community, run its consultation, and develop its proposals. “We do not wish to respond to the reported comments,” he said.

KiwiRail’s proposals to close the level crossings at Brooklyn Rd, Victoria St, Pembroke St, Rhodes St in Carterton, and Judds Rd in Masterton are in the early stages of consultation but have already drawn widespread local opposition.

KiwiRail, newly formed public committees, district councils, and Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty have all said they will explore other options to avoid closures.

But neither the public nor the councils – or even KiwiRail – will have the final say about what happens to the crossings because that decision ultimately falls to rail regulator Waka Kotahi.

Whatever KiwiRail decides to do, Waka Kotahi wields the power to accept or decline the rail company’s proposal.

Owen said Waka Kotahi will not begin its role as rail regulator until KiwiRail’s public consultation is finished.

“Waka Kotahi needs to see the final package before it makes any regulatory decisions,” he said.

“Our role as regulator begins once KiwiRail’s proposals for the rail corridor are finalised. However, our priority is to ensure any changes proposed are safe for workers on the rail corridor, rail users, and the public.”

As well as acting as the rail regulator with the final say on what happens to the level crossings, Owen said Waka Kotahi is also likely to make a submission as part of KiwiRail’s consultation process because any upgrades or closures could affect the state highway network.

So as the roading agency, Waka Kotahi will have an opportunity to tell KiwiRail which crossings it wants to be closed during public consultation, while as the rail regulator, it will decide whether to approve or decline the final proposal.


  1. Consultation does NOT imply permission from the community.
    We want assurance that our objections aren’t simply heard and ignored.
    In recent past experience, ticking the consultation box is merely a formality as part of a decision already made.
    Taking into account the special nature of “Ribbon development” town planning the affects on natural access to all parts & the ramifications on remaining infrastructure has to be part of any proposed changes.

  2. Well we all know what they think of us in the provinces,
    They are shockers, who’s only mandate seems to be is to make life miserable for us minions.

  3. Towns grow up around the rail
    Way line’s and had railway station’s built like carterton and Masterton. Subdivisions where built either side of the rail line’s and to close them off would be a health and safety problem for emergency vehicles. Rail and roading have responsibility to keep the community’s built around them to have safe and accessible access.

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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