The new branch line to the port, which will be about 20km long, will connect with the existing Northland main line about 10km south of Whangarei and will initially mainly carry logs for export from the region’s plantation forests.

Of the $NZ 800m allocated to both projects, $NZ 200m will be spent on the port line with $NZ 600m budgeted to upgrade the line to Auckland. The latter is expected to carry timber and dairy products. No start date for construction has yet been announced.

The expenditure is the largest national rail network upgrade outside of Auckland in more than 30 years.