Budget 2019: Planes and trains set to receive major funding boost

Old trains rumbling along ageing lines - a thing of the past, according to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

"Rail is back on track!" Peters exclaimed.

Planes and trains are set to get a multi-billion dollar boost.

The rail investment is aimed at reducing congestion and upgrading a crumbling network.

Meanwhile, the Defence Force receives a massive chunk for new Navy patrol planes.

Today's billion dollar investment is one of the biggest in recent times.

It sees $375 million allocated to new locomotives and wagons, $331 million in upgrading old, decaying tracks and $35 million towards replacing two old Interislander ferries.

Another $300 million will be allocated to KiwiRail from the Provincial Growth Fund.

"The fact is we need to get over thinking roads are the answer to everything," said Peters.

Peters has advocated for stronger KiwiRail investment.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union Secretary, Wayne Buston, says it's long overdue.

"Everything has been going backwards, whether it's bridges tracks tunnels, you name it, it has been in decline," Buston told Newshub.

Rail decay has been a problem for years, particularly in Northland.

Newshub Nation recently revealed an upgrade to the entire network could cost a billion dollars there.

Local leaders are hoping to reap the rewards from today's allocations.

The Mayor of Whangarei, Sheryl Mai, told Newshub: "At last, some investment in rail, in the infrastructure - it has been let go for a very long time."

National says any celebrations in the regions are premature.

National MP and spokesperson for Regional and Economic Development and Transport, Paul Goldsmith, says: "I think motorists and commuters who are frustrated about congestion all around the country, will be saddened at this investment."

As for planes, upgrading the Defence Force fleet has come with a hefty price tag.

Four brand new P-8 poseidons for the Navy are costing $2 billion.

Both Winston Peters and Ron Mark get big wins here, with spending on new planes and the rail network.

New Zealand First's influence is obvious in this budget, as is the focus on regional New Zealand.


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