KiwiRail focuses on new ferry terminal at Kaiwharawhara

KiwiRail is focussed on delivering a new ferry terminal at Kaiwharawhara within four years to support the new Interislander ferries, that provide a crucial economic and passenger link for New Zealand.

 KiwiRail’s Chief Operating Officer Capital Projects and Asset Development David Gordon appeared before in the Wellington City Council today. He told councilors that KiwiRail accepted Centreport and Wellingtonians did not want the new ferry terminal at Kings Wharf, so KiwiRail was now focusing its efforts on Kaiwharawhara.

 After his appearance Mr Gordon said: “KiwiRail needs to move on now. Our ferries are nearing the end of their useful lives, it’s becoming harder to keep them reliable and they’re not sized to deal with future growth, so delaying or doing nothing is not an option,” Mr Gordon says.

 “The people of New Zealand, Picton and Wellington deserve better than second-hand ferries which do not meet modern environmental standards, or their expectations of what high-quality travel should be. The new ferries will deliver on all fronts.”

Mr Gordon described the Interislander as an extension of SH1 and the main freight and passenger link between the North and South Islands and part of the rail network which takes freight off the road and onto rail.

“Focusing on rail is part of the Government’s objective to reduce carbon emissions which has just been restated with its declaration of a climate emergency. These ferries will reduce the Interislander’s carbon emissions by 40 per cent on day one and contribute to KiwiRail’s objective to be carbon neutral by 2050.

“The New Interislander project is a major project which will involve construction, support jobs, create improved facilities and deliver a must-do experience for the thousands of domestic and international travellers who pass through Wellington every year to catch an Interislander ferry. We must work together with all stakeholders to get this right and get it underway.

 “We’ve expressed our concerns about the seismic risk at Kaiwharawhara, based on the evidence we’ve received, and those concerns have been considered and rejected. Now we move on.”

 Mr Gordon says it is important that everyone understands staying at Kaiwharawhara did not mean ‘status quo’, as it would involve redevelopment of the existing Wellington wharves, terminal and marshalling yards. KiwiRail wanted the new facility to have greatly improved access – including ramps from the motorway - and CentrePort had already discussed making more land available, including the “the knoll” at the north of the current terminal site.

 KiwiRail aimed to build a facility to high standards which would be an asset to Wellington and enhance customers’ experience.

“This is a big investment for KiwiRail, the Government, and for the communities of Wellington and Picton where we are developing our new terminals. We are already engaging with our communities and partners to ensure that we work together to deliver a great result for them and New Zealand.

 KiwiRail could build a terminal ready for the new, larger ferries to arrive in mid-2020s and could phase-build over time to accommodate Bluebridge, or another operator, if required in the future.

 “Our end game here is to have a reliable, more environmentally friendly and enjoyable Interislander service for our freight and passenger customers. We want to do the right thing by Wellington and Picton and we want to work with communities to get there and we will be engaging with them more next year,” Mr Gordon says.