Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP)

The inaugural Rail Network Investment Programme is available here.  

On 29 June 2021 the Minister of Transport approved the inaugural Rail Network Investment Programme – which sets out planned network maintenance, management, renewal and improvement work on the national rail network over the next three years (2021 – 2024).

This represents a historic change in the way the rail network is planned and funded in New Zealand, with network infrastructure funding through the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

The Government outlined its 10-year vision for rail through the NZ Rail Plan. To deliver on the Government’s priorities KiwiRail has developed the RNIP, which outlines planned investment over the next three years, and forecast potential investment over the next decade.

Rail plays an important role in New Zealand, avoiding transport emissions and road congestion by transporting millions of people each year on Auckland and Wellington commuter services.

Given rail has 70 per cent fewer carbon emissions per tonne carried, compared to road freight, growing rail freight volumes is a crucial way of reducing emissions from the transport sector as a whole.

To deliver the Government’s goals for rail requires that tracks, bridges and other rail infrastructure across the country is up to standard. The first RNIP is aimed at addressing historic underinvestment and improving the state of the network to a ‘resilient and reliable’ level.

KiwiRail’s press release provides for a high-level breakdown of regional projects expected to be delivered under the RNIP over the next three years.

The focus of the RNIP, in line with the priorities set out in the NZ Rail Plan, is:

1. Investing in the national rail network to restore rail freight and provide a platform for future investments for growth, meaning:

  • a primary focus (and majority of spend) on the continuous programmes of maintenance, management and renewal
  • a modest allowance for improvement projects to support resilience and reliability

2. Investing in metropolitan rail to support productivity and growth in New Zealand’s largest cities; meaning:

  • a focus on completing the programmes which align with ATAP and the RLTPs
  • enhanced regional services (embedding the Hamilton to Auckland and Palmerston North to Wellington services)

For KiwiRail, each RNIP creates a three-year pipeline of work (within a 10 year forecast) which enables more effective investment decision making, supports and creates new jobs, and provides certainty to ourselves and to customers. It is the basis on which better and more reliable services to customers can be provided, ultimately resulting in greater volumes on rail. 


Expired spans on Bridge 113 East Coast Main Trunk Line were replaced in 2021 by North Island Structures teams extending the bridges life by 50 years

Further information

The NZ Rail Plan and RNIP were developed from the Government’s Future of Rail Review. The new planning and funding model is intended to create greater certainty around the investment programme for the national rail network and support long term sustainable funding.

Under the Land Transport Management Act 2003, rail infrastructure will be funded through the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) from 1 July 2021, alongside other land transport activities. The Government has contributed Crown funding of $834.4m to the NLTF through Budgets 2020 and 2021, which has increased the Rail Network activity class spending range in the GPS. Later this year, the Government will also be implementing track user charges to ensure rail users contribute to the NLTF.

KiwiRail's approved procurement procedures are available here.

Waka Kotahi have published their annual report on the Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP) for 2021/22. The report is a statutory requirement of the RNIP under section 102A of the Land Transport Management Act (LTMA) 2003. Waka Kotahi is required to monitor the extent to which the RNIP contributes to the purposes of the LTMA and is consistent with the Government Policy Statement on land transport. This report outlines KiwiRail’s performance against the delivery of funded activities and network measures during a challenging first year of the RNIP. For the full report follow the link below: 

Rail Network Investment Programme annual report (nzta.govt.nz)

On 21 May 2023 a variation on the RNIP was approved to give effect to Budget 2023 decisions by Cabinet to support the recovery following the Auckland Anniversary and Cyclone Gabrielle weather events and to fund the North Island electrification detailed business case.

A second variation was approved on 21 February 2024 to allow additional funding to be added to the Weather Events Recovery activity to support the Repair and Make Safe works on damaged lines from the North Island weather events.

The variations have two impacts on the Rail Network activity class as follows:

  • The inclusion of a Weather Events Recovery activity with funding approval up to a maximum of $216.0m
  • A $4.0m increase to the Improvements activity with funding approval amended up to a maximum of $53.5m.



Rail Network Investment Programme

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