The draft New Zealand Rail Plan (the draft Rail Plan) outlines the Government’s long-term vision and priorities for New Zealand’s national rail network. It is an output of the recommendations of the Future of Rail review which is a cross-agency project led by the Ministry of Transport (the Ministry), working alongside KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and the Treasury. Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council were engaged in relation to their metropolitan rail networks. The Government has agreed to key recommendations from the review, incorporating them into the draft Rail Plan.

The Future of Rail review has sought to identify the role rail can play in New Zealand’s transport system and put in place a sustainable approach to funding rail over the longer-term. A key part of this is considering how to better integrate rail into the overall planning and funding approach for the land transport system, so rail is maintained alongside other transport modes.

Previous investment in New Zealand’s rail network has lacked a long-term view about rail’s role in the transport system, and has resulted in a continued focus on short-term investment decision making. We need a new approach to planning and funding rail that supports it to play its role in the transport system.

This draft Rail Plan is a product of the Future of Rail review. It will inform funding decisions in the next Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) and future Budget decisions.

In order to implement this new long-term planning and funding system, we are also making changes to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 (the LTMA). The draft Rail Plan outlines the changes being made to the LTMA.

This is a significant programme of change for the land transport system and will be implemented over the next two years, with the intention that it come into effect in line with the next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

The Draft New Zealand Rail Plan is available and can be viewed and downloaded here [PDF, 5.2 MB].

Further information:

The Future of Rail and Investment to Support a Resilient and Reliable Rail System [PDF, 2.8 MB]

More information on the Future of Rail can be found here.

More information on the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill can be found here.

We welcome your feedback on the draft Rail Plan

We have timed release of this plan prior to the engagement on the next GPS, to ensure it is informed by our vision for rail. We welcome your feedback on the draft Rail Plan. We will be undertaking formal engagement on the draft Rail Plan as part of engagement on the draft GPS, which will take place in early 2020. Your feedback will help inform the final Rail Plan and GPS, which are due to be published in mid-2020.

Alongside engagement on the draft Rail Plan, we are also progressing amendments to the LTMA. The legislative process will allow for public feedback on these amendments to enable the new planning and funding framework outlined in Section 2 of the draft Rail Plan. 

If you would like to provide feedback ahead of the formal GPS engagement in 2020 you can email:

The Ministry will update its website regarding the formal engagement process through the GPS and timelines for formal feedback.