Thursday, April 9, 2009

Trains, planes & automobiles - oh, and a steamer

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy about transport in and around Hamilton. Air New Zealand has significantly reduced the international Trans-Tasman services to and from Hamilton International Airport to the point of near decimation; the condition of the railway track that connects Auckland and Wellington with Hamilton has been the source of ongoing complaint; and now the only vessel to operate on the Waikato River, the Waipa Delta, has threatened to up and leave for 'greener' waters, so to speak - Auckland's Waitemata Harbour - unless the Hamilton City Council comes to its rescue.

Well, it appears that the council is offering a $300 000 lifeline, but subject to certain conditions, including that the owners agree to keep the steamer operating as a tourist attraction on the Waikato river for five years. Read the full story in today's Waikato Times here.

I have been on the Waipa Delta and it is a lovely steamboat that is a real asset to Hamilton. It would be a pity to lose it, but in these tough economic times, can the Council really afford to keep it in Hamilton?

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