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Rail to play major role in future: ARA New Zealand Rail Summit

Australasian Railway Association 2 mins read

Rail has an exciting future in New Zealand’s transport network, with record investment and increasing passenger numbers, a rail summit has heard.

Almost 150 people from the rail sector attended the inaugural Australasian Railway Association New Zealand Rail Summit, held in Auckland on Thursday 4 July.

The Summit brought together key leaders and stakeholders from across industry and government involved in rail in New Zealand.

Topics covered at the Summit included infrastructure investment, passenger trends, level crossing safety, sustainability, innovation and technology, research and updates on the country’s rail projects.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said the Summit provided valuable insights into government policy, lessons learned from major projects, and key issues and challenges facing the rail industry.

“The ARA is focused on advocating for improvements to the resilience and reliability of the rail network in New Zealand, as well as promoting its decarbonisation and sustainability benefits,” Ms Wilkie said.

“It was clear from the presentations at the Summit that rail plays a significant role in the country’s future economic development and sustainability and it was encouraging to hear that passenger patronage is continuing to climb.

“New Zealand is enjoying the largest infrastructure investment in rail in a century and we can expect to see the economy and community reap the benefits of this in the near future.

“We also heard at the Summit that rail is a significant cog in the supply chain because of its ability to improve efficiency and productivity and ultimately deliver better outcomes to business and consumers.”

Attendees at the Summit were given an update on the recently finalised Government Policy Statement (GPS) for land transport 2024-34, including that the government was expanding its focus to 10 years to allow for more long-term planning, with its overarching strategic priority to support economic growth and productivity.

The ARA’s submission in response to the consultation on the draft GPS recommended increased planned funding of the rail network, with a particular focus on ensuring that both road and rail infrastructure is maintained and improved appropriately to deliver a more resilient and reliable transport network.

The submission also recommended the draft GPS be amended to ensure a greater focus on decarbonisation, in recognition of the significant sustainability benefits that the rail system provides.

The Summit also had a sneak-peek at a EY report the ARA has commissioned that shows rail delivers substantial economic value to New Zealand and drives job growth, particularly in the dairy and construction sectors.

The ARA represents the rail sector in Australia and New Zealand and has more than 230 member organisations across the five areas of rail – heavy haul, freight, passenger, infrastructure and manufacturing. The ARA has members based in Australia with a presence in New Zealand as well as NZ members Kiwirail, Auckland Transport, Wellington City Council, Transdev and Auckland One Rail among others.

Contact details:

Natasha Wallace

Senior Manager – Strategic Communications | 0499 272 672 


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