Poll: Should we invest more in rail to get trucks off the road?

Rail in Auckland (WIkipedia)
Rail in Auckland (WIkipedia)

Half of New Zealand's freight would move to rail and sea under an ambitious Green Party plan to get more trucks off the country's roads.

It would go into the electrification of rail between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga -- something transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter calls the "Golden Triangle".

They plan to invest $860 million into electrifying the rail lines between three cities which are the country's busiest freight corridors.

"This will help to move freight safely off the road, and create a zero emissions freight service," she says.

"Instead of demanding that rail return a profit, which has set rail up to fail, we'll fund it from the transport budget in the same way roads are, providing the investment needed to move freight in the most effective and clean way."

Ms Genter says adopting more rail and ship freight will be safer, cheaper and better for the environment. It would also remove congestion from the roads and save lives -- around 55 people are killed in crashes involving trucks and 850 are seriously injured each year.

She estimates it would be the equivalent of replacing 1.6 million petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles.