Frequently asked questions

Through feedback channels such as our website, online engagement platform and feedback forms.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak we’ve had to cancel our two, planned public open days. We’ve made arrangements to ensure you can get involved and have your say. These include,

  • Social Pinpoint – Use our interactive online platform to join in discussions and share your ideas.
  • Letter drop – A letter job will be made to all Waitohi Picton and Waikawa residents with an information brochure about the project. This includes a feedback form that can be returned by post.
  • Brochures –  Brochures are being mailed to all Waitohi Picton residents. If  you don’t live in Waitohi Picton but would like to receive one, please contact us with your name and address at or call us at 0800 NEWFERRY.
  • Call or email the project team – You can email us at or call the dedicated project phone line at 0800 NEWFERRY. You may need to leave us a message.

Council’s work around wider Waitohi Picton community planning is being run through Council’s own processes and we’re committed to working in with Council to ensure very good outcomes for Waitohi Picton.

You can subscribe to our electronic newsletter and visit this website. We will also do a letter drop to every Waitohi Picton resident with a brochure detailing the project. If  you don’t live in Waitohi Picton but would like to receive one, please contact us with your name and address at or call us at 0800 NEWFERRY.

We will set up information stands at the Waitohi Picton and Blenheim libraries, Port Marlborough Offices, Marlborough District Council offices and in the InterIslander Terminal building.

If you would like to speak to a real person, please call 0800 NEWFERRY. You may need to leave us a message.

We’re consulting directly with Te Ātiawa regarding land-based issues, and also with all Te Tau Ihu Iwi in relation to the use of the Marlborough Sounds. Their values and priorities are being intertwined with detailed planning for the project. The project provides good opportunities to recognise Mana Whenua and Kaitiakitanga at the Ferry Precinct, at the Terminal in particular.

All being well, new ferries are targeted to enter service from 2024 so critical infrastructure will need to be in place before then. We expect construction to start in 2021.

We’re still in feasibility stage so the cost isn’t yet confirmed, and we’re working through potential funding models.


We are exploring options for a new the terminal building that will accommodate expected growth in passenger numbers and to ensure a good customer experience.

We’re working through options for the terminal and car-parking area and can’t say for sure yet whether there will be opportunities inside or close to the terminal for other businesses.

We will continue to share our plans with the community as they are developed.

The plans and images on the website and in the consultation material show a three storey high building. This is likely to be the largest we would build. It is likely that during the design phase the building will reduce in size from what is shown on the current plans.

A primary requirement for the project delivery will be maintaining ongoing services to passengers and protecting the ability of service providers to continue to operate. There will inevitably be some ‘work-arounds’ as construction progresses but maintaining ongoing operations in an efficient way is a high priority.

We plan to maintain services for our customers during construction. As happens now, ferry schedules may be altered to meet market and seasonal demands. It is possible that some changes may need to be made as a result of construction, but these will be carefully planned to minimise disruption for customers.

The Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan identify the National Transportation Route as passing through Tory Channel. We anticipate that the new ferries will continue to use this route as well as the northern entrance as required. We are engaging with the Harbour Master as part of the process which includes discussing the use of Tory Channel for the new ships.

We are in the early design phase of the project, and are considering ship speeds, wake and emissions. We are aware of both the requirements in the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan regarding wave energy. The ships are being designed to comply with these requirements.

Emissions from the ships will comply with current international regulations, such as MARPOL Annex VI which addresses both discharges to air and discharges to water. The ship design will allow for progressive improvements to the power systems as technology develops.

We will make every effort to enhance the environment through the construction and future operation of the port. We will use industry best practice standards to minimise the environmental impact during construction, particularly in relation to water quality, aquatic ecology, effects on the coastal environment and protection of cultural values. We are taking expert advice on how to design and construct the project to ensure minimal adverse environmental impact.

Yes, access to Waitohi Wharf, Westshore and Shakespeare Bay will be minimally affected by the project. StraitNZ / Bluebridge will continue to operate from their existing terminal, marshalling areas and berths and will not be impacted by the project.

At this stage no details are decided but we believe we will need to make some changes to the roading network to avoid or manage waits at rail crossings of up to 60 minutes when trains come on and off the ferries. These delays have been foreseen because we are planning to use longer trains with the new ferries.

To mitigate these delays, some changes are being proposed and we are also seeking feedback generally in case there are other things we can do. One option includes an overbridge which would require the closure of Market Street. The other significant road transport change being explored is to close Broadway at that level crossing and create a cul-de-sac. This would improve safety at the complex intersection but increase journey times for some.

Right now, no decisions have been made. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport and KiwiRail are jointly investigating the transport network adjacent to the port and we are keen to hear your views through the feedback mechanisms provided via this website.

We are still in the early stages of the project, so it is still too soon to tell what changes there may be to cycle and pedestrian links. However, this is part of the planning process and where possible we will improve the walking and cycling network and connections to and from the ferries and terminal to the town and surrounding transport network. Pedestrian and cycling links will also be explored as part of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport and KiwiRail joint investigation and we would like people to tell us how they walk and cycle in the area as part of the feedback process.

The Coastal Pacific will not be affected by the new ferry proposals.  The train station platform will be extended as part of this project to improve the rail facilities at Waitohi Picton. The terminal building will service both rail and ferry passengers.

With the increased capacity of the new ferries, we expect we will have to make some changes to the local road layout to accommodate additional vehicles and longer trains. These options are explained in our proposals. Please note, these options are only a concept at this stage and we welcome your feedback.

While the new ships are much larger than the current fleet, we don’t expect the number of trucks crossing the Cook Strait to suddenly increase once the new ships arrive. However, the ships will allow for freight growth of around 50% over the 30-year life of the ships.

Cars and walk-on passengers are very seasonal. In the winter we expect numbers to remain fairly low as they are now, while during the summer the number of tourists and holiday travellers increases significantly. We expect larger capacity ships will lead to more cars during the busy periods (Christmas and Easter) but the total number of passengers crossing the Cook Strait will only increase by about 10%. However, as with the trucks, passenger numbers are expected to increase over the next 30 years and individual sailings in the peak periods could have up to twice as many cars as today.

The Wellington side of the InterIslander terminal is managed by CentrePort.  They will make changes to accommodate the new ferries. We are working with our Wellington counterparts to ensure the maximum efficiency is maintained in the development of the designs and systems that will be used.  This consultation exercise only covers the Waitohi Picton changes. The Wellington changes will be consulted on by CentrePort in Wellington.

We will refine our proposals after considering the feedback from this consultation and lodge applications under the Resource Management Act 1991.


Join us for our October Q&A events

Meet the team in Waitohi Picton or Blenheim

We will be in Waitohi Picton on Tuesday 20 October and Blenheim on Wednesday 21 October to provide an update on the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment and the related Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail business case.

Throughout our discussions with stakeholders so far, traffic and roading impacts have been a key topic of interest. The Ferry Precinct project has also been a catalyst for transport-related discussions between project partners KiwiRail, Port Marlborough, Marlborough District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail have now advanced this through a specific ‘single stage business case’ transport investigation.  We are now ready to seek feedback on the possible improvements emerging through this business case work, so that community and stakeholder views can help inform decisions regarding the preferred improvements.

We warmly invite you to join us to discuss this important and exciting project at our upcoming Q&A events.

The Ferry Precinct Redevelopment team will also be on hand to answer your questions about the redevelopment project and new Interislander ferries.

Waitohi Picton Q&A Event: 4.00pm – 7.00pm Tuesday 20 October, Pier Café, Picton Interislander Ferry Terminal.

Blenheim Q&A Event: 4.00pm – 7.00pm Wednesday 21 October, Marlborough Room, Scenic Hotel Marlborough, 65 Alfred Street, Blenheim.

If you have any questions about these events please call us on 0800 NEW FERRY (639 33779) or email us at

Have your say on  transport network improvements

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail are looking at transport changes that might be needed to improve how people move around and through Waitohi/Picton.

Our task is to look at changes that may be needed in addition to transport changes already proposed as part of the larger Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct project. The Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct is proposing construction of an overbridge at the Dublin Street rail crossing along with changes at the Broadway crossing and the northern end of Market Street.

Our additional transport changes are proposed for the short, medium and long term.  We are currently building a case for these proposed transport changes through a ‘single stage business case’.  No decision on funding has been made but once the business case is completed, funding is likely to be applied for in stages.

You can talk to us about these changes at one of our Q&A events (see above) or provide your feedback online via the link below. Feedback closes on Tuesday 3rd November.

Waitohi Picton Ferry precinct selected for RMA fast tracking

On 16 June The government announced that the redevelopment of the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct is among the 11 projects named in the legislation designed to get New Zealanders back to work. Over the four-plus years it will take to redevelop the precinct, more than 200 full time jobs are expected to be created in direct construction employment at the top of the South Island and 100 jobs in indirect employment throughout the supply chain.

Click here for the Environment Minister David Parker’s media release announcing the projects selected for RMA fast tracking. Our June newsletter also has more information.