Govt considers future of Kaikoura rail and highway

(Supplied/ New Zealand Defence Force)
(Supplied/ New Zealand Defence Force)

The Government is considering moving sections of the road and rail network along the Kaikoura Coast to make the route safer.

It comes after Prime Minister John Key and Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee flew over the current coastal route, which has been wiped out in dozens of places by quake-triggered slips.

"The slips are of a scale that are very meaningful," says Mr Key. "I'm not saying there will be dramatic realignment, but it wouldn't be the first time we've gone away and asked the question."

Govt considers future of Kaikoura rail and highway

(Supplied/ NZDF)

"In rebuilding that road, is it absolutely in the right place, is the rail in the right place, and how susceptible is it to a future earthquake or slip?" asks Mr Key.

Seven rail bridges have been severely damaged, and 14 kilometres of the rail line has been shunted sideways off its foundations. Several road bridges are also damaged.

"They are having to rebuild a very large piece of road and rail - is it absolutely positioned in the right place?" Mr Key says.

"These were built a long time ago when the knowledge and capacity we had was different," he says.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says it's unlikely the entire stretch of SH1 and the rail line from Seddon to Cheviot will be relocated inland.