Ruapehu student leaders impress at The Future Is Rail Conference
Student leaders from Taumarunui High School and Ruapehu College took center stage at the 'Future is Rail Conference' in Wellington to advocate for the restoration of public Inter-Regional Passenger Rail services in New Zealand.
The conference aimed to develop a shared vision for rebuilding inter-regional and long-distance passenger rail services, contributing to a more sustainable future by reducing carbon emissions and increasing mobility choices for New Zealanders, particularly those residing in regional areas.
Grace Burnard, head girl Ruapehu College with Joshua Simons, head boy Ruapehu College and Corbin O'Shannessey, head boy Taumarunui High School were given prime speaking slots to talk about the importance of restoring inter-regional passenger rail services from a youth perspective.
Ruapehu mayor Weston Kirton, who with Councillor David Nottage, hosted the students attendance at the conference, said that the student leaders did an amazing job in representing their school’s and the district.
"With a powerful and insightful voice, these student leaders conveyed their passion, insights, and ideas on the importance of restoring public Inter-Regional Passenger Rail services in New Zealand from a youth perspective," he said.
"They passionately highlighted the multitude of benefits that arise from prioritizing rail travel, including the significant reduction of carbon emissions, the enhancement of social cohesion, the boost to local economies, and the embracement of technological progress."
Mayor Kirton noted that the participation of student leaders at the Future Is Rail Conference underscored the vital role young people's views can play in shaping the development of critical public policy such as sustainable public transport options for New Zealand.
"Their fresh perspectives and outlook captured the attention of attendees, helping to spark meaningful discussions and a renewed sense of importance for rail infrastructure development."
Mayor Kirton added that he was committed to fostering the involvement of Ruapehu youth and ensuring their perspectives are heard on crucial regional and national matters.
"Incorporating young people's views in the development of public transport policy is crucial for creating inclusive, sustainable, and forward-thinking transportation systems that meet the needs of all citizens, both now and in the future," he said.