The decision by the New Zealand Transport Agency not to build a vital section of the planned shared cycle and walkway north of Kaikoura could put thousands of cyclists at undue risk, and expose the railway to storm surges, Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith says.
"The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced they would not progress the shared use path at Mangamaunu Point under the current consents," Stuart says.
"This means the path's estimated 30,000 cyclists per year will be forced onto a particularly risky kilometre of State Highway 1. This situation is in complete contrast to the NZTA's own safe cycling proclamations, and a huge disappointment.
"The group behind the shared use pathway, the Marlborough Kaikoura Trail Trust, has put months of work into designing a trail that deliberately diverts users off the highway as much as possible.
"This trail presents significant economic and social opportunities for the entire Kaikoura Electorate. By bringing visitors to a world class cycle trail, it would go a long way to revitalising our east coast communities which are still recovering from the 2016 earthquake.
"Rejecting plans for a protective coastal structure also raises questions about the resilience of the railway, and I hope this will be taken into consideration when the, issue is taken through normal Resource Management Act (RMA) processes.
"The fact is this safety and resilience work has not come about under normal circumstances. Given the proximity of the rail to the sea, one can only wonder what works now have to be done in the future to protect it from storm surges.
"Not dealing with this kilometre long stretch now can ultimately become a very costly decision that negatively affects the overall resilience of this important piece of national infrastructure, and the resilience of our electorate," Stuart says.