Waltham investment key to the future of South Island rail

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
  • Hon Shane Jones
Infrastructure State Owned Enterprises

The Government is investing $39 million to build a new rail maintenance facility in Christchurch which will support hundreds of construction jobs and ensure a strong future for South Island rail, State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say.

The funding comes from the Government’s $3 billion for infrastructure projects to kick-start New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19.

“This is a major investment that will directly benefit Christchurch,” Mr Peters says.

“Close to 300 people will be needed to construct the new facilities in Waltham over the next two to three years, and KiwiRail has assured me it will be using local civil contractors and material suppliers wherever possible, in addition to its own staff.

“That means a good amount of the Government’s investment will be going back into Canterbury’s economy, its people and its businesses, which is crucial to help offset the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

Shane Jones said the investment supports the Government’s revitalisation of rail in New Zealand.

“The Government has already committed more than $4 billion to bring New Zealand’s rail network back from the brink after decades of under-investment. This includes the new facility for KiwiRail’s scenic trains at Waltham and new wagons and locomotives for the South Island, through Budget 2019 and 2020.

“KiwiRail’s maintenance facilities in Christchurch are tired, earthquake-damaged and spread across the city. This $39 million investment will mean KiwiRail can complete the build of a new, modern, fit-for-purpose facility at Waltham which will be used to maintain the South Island’s locomotives and wagons,” Mr Jones said.

Construction work at Waltham began in January and this further investment will see it continue into 2023.

This investment complements an earlier, near $20 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to upgrade the Hillside heavy engineering workshops in Dunedin.

The funding announced today is part of the $3 billion infrastructure package in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones on July 1. The fund is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.