Rail networks have long played a critical role in the economic and social development of New Zealand and as such are a significant investment and cost to the country.
While we know the costs, there is an economic value of rail in New Zealand which is not captured in traditional profit and loss calculations.
These often hidden benefits are delivered to all New Zealanders through social, environmental and economic values which in 2016 were quantified by professional services firm EY. You can read their report here.
The report found that the total value of rail in New Zealand was estimated to be $1.47 billion - $1.54 billion each year, from just four areas – reduced congestion in our cities; reduced carbon emissions; improved road safety including injuries and fatalities and lower road maintenance costs for taxpayers.
This very conservative value measures what the economic impact would be on the roading network if rail disappeared tomorrow and it far exceeds what the Government puts into rail each year.
Rail makes a huge contribution to New Zealand – more than 34 million passenger journeys are taken on rail each year and 24% of our export goods travel by rail.
Rail is also an inherently environmentally friendly mode of transport, with 66% fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight.