NEW Zealand’s government has committed a total of $NZ 466m ($US 265m) to rail projects in its 2024 budget.

The modernisation of Auckland’s rail network will receive $NZ 159m, while $NZ 107m has been allocated to overdue track renewals in Auckland and Wellington. Additional funding for the next Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP) totalling $NZ 200m has boosted committed funds for the national network to around $NZ 900m for the next two years.

“We fully appreciate the government’s need to manage spending and are thankful for this healthy investment in rail - which will be going where it is most needed,” says Mr Peter Reidy, CEO of Kiwi Rail.

“The Rail Network Rebuild in Auckland is addressing the highest priority issues and is crucial for allowing more frequent trains across the city once the City Rail Link opens in 2026. We have already completed rebuild work on the core network, and the funding in Budget 2024 will allow us to finish the job, replacing aging track foundations and improving drainage on the outer parts of the metro network.”

Earlier this year transport minister, Mr Simeon Brown, launched a review of funding for the New Zealand rail network, which is widely regarded as being in need of overhaul.

“Over the last three years we have been focussed on raising the standard of our national rail network, and the government commitment in Budget 2024 will help us continue that work. Rail carries 25% of exports, and upgrading our rail lines will contribute to the government’s goal of growing New Zealand’s export economy,” adds Reidy.