Government commitment to rail welcomed

25 May 2017 9:09PM

The Government’s two year commitment of $450 million in capital funding announced today will ensure the reliability initiatives of the past two years continue to drive productivity and commercial outcomes for KiwiRail and its customers, KiwiRail Chairman Trevor Janes says.

“We welcome the budget announcement today and the recognition of the significant productivity and efficiency gains made by KiwiRail over the past two years. This is the second budget round which offers multi-year funding and the agreement to investigate the potential for longer-term funding in future is a significant step.

“Today’s announcement acknowledges the important role rail plays in the New Zealand transport system. KiwiRail transports around 25% of the country’s exports, plays a critical role in regional tourism and enables more than 27 million commuter trips in Auckland and Wellington each year.

“We take more than a million trucks off the roads, through an integrated transport system.

“Importantly, every tonne of freight carried by rail is a 66% carbon emissions saving for New Zealand.

“Over the past two years, our transformation programme to standardise our assets, simplify the business and invest in our people and commercial growth has seen the organisation meet its financial targets for Government for the first time.

“Despite the considerable challenges that the Kaikoura Earthquake and this year’s fire on the Midland Line to Greymouth have presented, we are continuing to drive double digit growth in our Import/Export markets and deliver strong partnerships with the country’s ports.

“The Government’s commitment to fund the uninsured balance of the reinstatement of the Main North Line between Picton and Christchurch is critical, as without this funding KiwiRail would be unable to undertake the project.

“The Budget funding announced today will predominantly be invested in KiwiRail’s rolling stock and network to ensure the reliability gains of the past two years continue, and in Zero Harm initiatives to improve the safety of our people, customers  and the public at large.

“The plan to review the way rail is funded in the longer-term will offer more even surety to our customers, our people and the transformation of the business,” Trevor Janes says.

Contact Communications Manager Sarah Stuart: 021 684 564