Investment to revitalise Northland
State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have today announced a $109.7 million investment, through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), into regional rail that will revitalise train services across the Northland region.
“Last year we announced almost $95 million of Provincial Growth Fund funding to undertake long overdue and critical maintenance on the rail line to Whangarei and today we are building on our promise to return rail to its rightful place in Northland,” Mr Peters said.
“We are investing a further $69.7 million to lower the tracks through tunnels on the Northland Line between Swanson and Whangarei, expanding rail further into Northland by reopening the rail line from Kauri and building a container terminal at Otiria.”
A further $40 million has been earmarked to purchase land along the designated route of the spur line to Northport and Marsden Point.
“This second phase of funding is a game changer that will allow more freight onto rail and help reduce road congestion, road maintenance costs and seriously lower carbon emissions. It will also mean that modern shipping containers can be carried through the tunnels on the North Auckland Line,” Mr Peters said.
Mr Jones said ensuring resilient and reliable rail services supported regional growth and helped to create much needed jobs in Northland.
“Northland deserves the same rail services and economic development opportunities the rest of the country enjoys,” Mr Jones said.
“KiwiRail is trying to use Northland-based contractors and materials where it can for the line rebuild and are employing 12 local track staff for ongoing maintenance. It’s about making sure Northland sees maximum benefits from this Government investment.”
“But we are also thinking about the future,”
“This investment will allow KiwiRail to secure the land needed for a new rail line to Northport - one of the only ports in New Zealand that is not rail connected. Having this land means that when the Government does make its final decision about a future port in Northland, we will be ready to get going,” said Mr Jones.
The $109.7 million PGF investment is part of a wider, billion dollar rail funding package in Budget 2019.