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Rail Plan recognises value of rail to New Zealand – KiwiRail

The New Zealand Rail Plan, which was released in Wellington today, sets the course for a resilient and reliable network that supports the growth of rail freight and passenger services, KiwiRail Group chief executive Greg Miller says.

Rail provides $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion in value to New Zealand each year, an updated Ernst and Young report, which was also released today, shows.

The Rail Plan is the Government’s 10-year strategy for rail network investment.

"The beauty of the Rail Plan, and the related work programme, is that for the first time KiwiRail has certainty about investment in the network," says Greg.

"For us, that means we can recruit staff and take on apprentices knowing that a 10-year pipeline of work is in front of us.

"It also gives us certainty about procurement because we know there will be investment in the network. The Rail Network Investment Programme, which will be released mid-year, will set out the detailed work programme.

"Our customers also get certainty through this process, enabling them to invest confidently in their own businesses knowing which rail renewals and maintenance will be prioritised, and that the rail services they depend on will be reliable.

"Together, the Rail Plan and the RNIP will support infrastructure pipeline certainty, more effective investment decisions and a reliable and successful service for growing freight and passengers."

The Value of Rail report shows that without commuter rail in New Zealand we would see another 26 million car trips in Auckland and Wellington each year. Without rail freight, there would be another 24,000 trucks on New Zealand’s roads, and transport CO2 emissions would rise by around 2.5 million tonnes each year.

"Rail has an essential role to play in our transport system given increasing freight volumes, road congestion and road maintenance costs and the need to reduce emissions," says Greg.

"The COVID-19 lockdowns last year highlighted the value of rail to our supply chains and New Zealand’s economic recovery.

"Rail is playing a growing role in transport networks internationally and in New Zealand.

"We’re working for our nation’s GDP, working hard for our primary industry import and export partners as well as the larger road transporters in New Zealand, who are increasingly aligning with rail.

"Our customers will be very pleased with the Rail Plan. I am sure it will encourage a greater use of rail and make it a more attractive proposition for other New Zealand businesses, too. That’s good for our business, and for reducing New Zealand’s emissions."

KiwiRail is currently developing the first RNIP, which will be the basis of funding requests through the National Land Transport Fund.

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