Upper North Island freight industry shakers and movers are hoping KiwiRail is a winner in next week's Budget given the coalition Government's focus on regional development and zero carbon emissions. The question is where any Budget funds for the state rail operator should be spent. Andrea Fox reports.

Two Government-commissioned study reports recently released by infrastructure and associate transport minister Shane Jones - the Northland Rail Business Case and the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy - identified rail as key to economic freight flows, getting trucks off the road, and relieving traffic congestion in the Northland-Auckland-Waikato-Bay of Plenty triangle.