Fair Go For Franklin was cofounded by Niko Kloeten, a Pukekohe resident who started a petition to bring electrification to Pukekohe.
The online petition has more than 1500 signatures and he is hoping to get ten times that number with the physical version, which is available at Paper Plus Pukekohe and the Waiuku Information Centre.
Kloeten says Fair Go For Franklin is an independent grassroots organisation that will give a voice to Franklin residents who are concerned about local issues but feel powerless to address them.
“There is widespread anger and frustration in Franklin around transport, particularly the train issue which is an ongoing headache. It feels like every time we take a step forward we take at least half a step backward,” he says.
“I often hear people comment that they have complained about issues but got nowhere. Fair Go For Franklin will use our collective voice to advocate for better transport solutions for all parts of Franklin.”
Kloeten says local ratepayer groups have done a good job advocating on these issues but he is hoping to attract broader membership, including young people who are often ‘disengaged’ from local government.
University student, Jessica Taylor, was one of the first to sign up to Fair Go For Franklin, after train delays resulted in her being nearly two hours late for a class on Thursday morning.
“I got to Pukekohe station at 7am and I didn’t get to Britomart until well after 9am. It meant I was marked as absent from class because I was more than half an hour late. It was also dangerous because none of the barrier arms and lights were working when our train went through. Luckily the train stopped at them all and used the horn to stop cars. I have complained and sent letters and nothing seemed to be happening, so hopefully if the whole of Franklin is on board then our concerns will be dealt with.”
While the trains are Fair Go For Franklin’s initial focus, Kloeten says the group is keen to tackle other transport issues, including in the Waiuku and Wairoa subdivisions.
“Franklin is experiencing huge population growth and it is essential that we get adequate infrastructure, particularly transport, to cope with that growth.”
For more information and to sign up, visit their website : ww.fairgoforfranklin.org.nz