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KiwiRail welcomes Government’s boost to rail

February 23, 2018

Embargoed Until Midday

KiwiRail welcomes Government’s boost to rail

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says today’s announcements of new projects in the Provincial Growth Fund are a strong signal of the Government’s confidence in rail’s ability to drive regional economic growth for New Zealand.

“KiwiRail is committed to enabling sustainable and inclusive economic growth and the Government’s investment in promoting rail in the regions will enable us to step up that work.

“This investment is a vote of confidence in our customers and our staff.

“The projects announced today – the re-opening of the Wairoa-Napier line and the upgrade of the Whanganui line – are just the start.

“They are the projects that were ‘shovel ready’ and that we could begin straight away.

“The feasibility studies that were also announced today are an indication of the possibilities for future investment.

“We welcome this recognition of the contribution rail is making in adding value to New Zealand, not only through the efficient movement of freight and people, but in all of the areas highlighted in the recent Value of Rail report prepared by professional services firm EY.

“The benefits rail delivers include reducing congestion on roads, cutting carbon emissions, making our roads safer and lowering spending on road maintenance and upgrades.

“Together they add up to more than $1.5 billion per year, and they are a key reason for the Government’s financial investments today.

“Moving logs by rail takes pressure off the roads, and reduces greenhouse gases – each tonne of freight carried by rail instead of heavy trucks means 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions.

“The Wairoa-Napier road is not designed to cope with the growing volumes of logs now that the ‘Wall of Wood’ is coming on stream. Rail is the ideal way of getting that timber to overseas customers.

“We have estimated that using the Wairoa-Napier line to move the logs could take up to 5,714 trucks a year off the road, and reduce carbon emissions by 1292 tonnes.

“KiwiRail already transports around 25% of the country’s exports and plays a critical role in regional tourism.

“However, there is a lot of potential to increase that contribution, and KiwiRail looks forward to realising that potential.

“Today’s announcements are an important step in doing that,” says Mr Reidy.

ends

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