Labour would consider giving the NZ Transport Agency responsibility for rail planning.

Leader Andrew Little addressed the Local Government New Zealand conference this afternoon and said transport planning needed to take in road, rail, coastal shipping and ports.

"With a mode-neutral transport system we could build better transport in our towns and cities, and a more efficient freight transport network.

"But that coherence is harder to achieve in New Zealand, partly because road transport planning comes under NZTA, but rail planning doesn't," Little said.


"I'm open to discussing creative solutions to ensure that strategic coordination takes place, including by delegating NZTA the added job of strategic planning for our rail network."

The NZTA board allocates funds from the National Land Transport Fund to land transport activities, including local roads, state highways and public transport.

KiwiRail, a state-owned enterprise, looks after the rail track network. The metro rail network, and Auckland Transport and the Greater Wellington Regional council own the trains that provide passenger services.

A two-year $190.2 million funding package for KiwiRail as part of May's Budget came with a warning, with Transport Minister Simon Bridges saying ongoing subsidies at that level are "unsustainable".

The new Budget spending takes total investment in the company since 2010 to $1.4 billion.