The government’s significant rail investment in Budget 2021 is another major and welcome step to making KiwiRail sustainable, Group chief executive Greg Miller says.
The government has committed $1.3 billion for rail in Budget 2021, building on previous Budget investments of $1.2 billion in Budget 2020 and $1 billion in 2019.
“This is an outstanding level of investment from the government which is truly revitalising rail for New Zealand,” Miller says.
“KiwiRail has already replaced its aging North Island locomotive fleet, and this latest tranche of funding will fully cover the cost of replacing our South Island locomotives, many of which are more than 40 years old, and purchasing new electric shunt locomotives.
“It’s allowing us to build a new hub for maintaining South Island rolling stock at Waltham (Christchurch), and we will build a new facility at Hillside Workshops (Dunedin) to assemble wagons in New Zealand.
“The Budget includes a large contribution to the National Land Transport Fund to raise the national rail network to a resilient and reliable standard after decades of under-investment.”
Miller says the investment will benefit the regions and sets KiwiRail on a clear pathway to business sustainability.
“As a result of Budget 2021, more than 600 contractors will be needed to upgrade and build the new facilities, particularly in the South Island, and local businesses will be needed to supply building materials.
“The investment also means that KiwiRail will be taking on around 200 more employees – for ongoing track maintenance and renewal work across the country and wagon assembly at Hillside. We have committed to 10% of new staff being apprentices or trainees.”