Napier-Wairoa line a major asset for Hawkes Bay
State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones reopened the Napier-Wairoa rail line in the Hawkes Bay today.
The Ministers marked the reopening of the line, which closed in 2012 and was re-established with $6.2 million funding through the Provincial Growth Fund, at an event at KiwiRail’s Napier rail depot this morning, followed by a train journey on the line.
“The re-opening of the Napier-Wairoa rail line will play a crucial role in facilitating regional forestry and bring huge benefits to the Hawkes Bay,” Mr Peters says.
“This is the first mothballed rail line to be reopened in 15 years. It will allow forestry harvests around Wairoa to get to Port of Napier safely and efficiently, and when the train services are fully up and running they will avoid 15,000 truck journeys each year on the region’s roads.
“That is just one of the ways rail can benefit our regions and support them to grow. It’s why the Government has invested more than $1 billion for rail in Budget 2019, and will continue to build the reliable and resilient rail network that New Zealanders deserve,” Mr Peters says.
Mr Jones says that rail services on the Napier to Wairoa line are crucial for the local forestry sector.
“It’s about getting ahead of the curve. Forestry harvests around Wairoa are predicted to quadruple in the coming years, rising from around 150,000 tonnes currently to 600,000 tonnes by 2023.
“Trucks won’t be able to do it - in order to get those harvests to Port of Napier we need trains.
“That’s why reopening the Napier-Wairoa line is so important for the Hawkes Bay. It will allow the economic benefits of the coming harvests to be realised, which is good for Wairoa and the wider region.
“The $4m we announced this week through the Provincial Growth Fund for a rail log hub in Dannevirke, will build on realising forestry potential for the Hawkes Bay.
“This is what the Provincial Growth Fund is about – ensuring our regions have the right investment that enables them to flourish,” says Mr Jones.
About 150 people attended the event to celebrate the reopening, including local MPs, mayors and councillors, iwi representatives and stakeholders.