The New Zealand Government has provided an NZD39m ($26m) investment to state-owned rail operator KiwiRail to construct new rail maintenance facility in Christchurch.

This investment is expected to support construction jobs and aid the future for South Island rail.

This funding is a part of NZD$3bn allocated by the government for infrastructure projects to aid the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The construction is expected to commence in January and continue until 2023 due to further investment.

This investment supports the previous Provincial Growth Fund investment of NZD$20m to revamp the Hillside heavy engineering workshops in Dunedin.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said: “This is a major investment that will directly benefit Christchurch.

“Close to 300 people will be needed to construct the new facilities in Waltham over the next two to three years, and KiwiRail has assured me it will be using local civil contractors and material suppliers wherever possible, in addition to its own staff.

“That means a good amount of the government’s investment will be going back into Canterbury’s economy, its people and its businesses, which is crucial to help offset the economic impacts of Covid-19.”

Earlier this month, the New Zealand Government provided an investment of NZD13m ($8.5m) to KiwiRail to boost the rail connection between the West Coast and Christchurch.

This investment was provided from the allocated contingency reserved in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects. It is a part of the NZD90m ($59m) assigned to the West Coast.

In May, the New Zealand Government allocated NZD1.2bn ($717m) in its Budget 2020, which will be available to KiwiRail.