The Government has announced that it is setting up a special project team to investigate a proposal for a new ferry terminal at Clifford Bay in Marlborough.
If it were to go ahead, the $422 million project would see the ferry and road journey between Wellington and Christchurch reduced by an hour and twenty minutes, and the ferry-rail journey by nearly two hours.
What do you think of the plan? Have your say on the ONE News Facebook page.
The proposed new ferry terminal at Clifford Bay is part of the Government's wider infrastructure programme, which has been set out in the Building Infrastructure progress report released by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee this morning.
"Cabinet believes the business case we've been presented is strong enough to justify further testing the viability of this major change to New Zealand's transport infrastructure.
"I have discussed today's news with some key stakeholders, including the Marlborough District Council, Port Marlborough, Strait Shipping, CentrePort, and KiwiRail's Interislander to inform them of our decision to proceed to the next stage," said Brownlee.
"They understand that this decision could potentially rewrite the transport map for the country, and that the Government is prepared to take the time required to make the right decision for New Zealand," added Brownlee.
According to the report, other potential benefits would include reduced fuel costs for road and rail transportation, rail and ferry maintenance cost savings, and reduced carbon emissions.
The project team will report back by next April.
The Building Infrastructure report also set out a further 67 initiatives the Government believes will "help build a more competitive economy".
Finance Minister Bill English said the progress report also includes proposals for the $5.5 billion for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Fund, $1.6 billion for ultra-fast broadband and faster rural broadband, $5 billion for the national electricity grid and $12.2 billion for roading between 2012 and 2015.
"Resilient, efficient and coordinated infrastructure networks are vital to a well-running economy. They help the movement of people, goods and information around our country and around our world," said English.
"For businesses to invest in plant and facilities in New Zealand, they need to be confident that they will have access to infrastructure that supports their businesses - transport, energy, water and telecommunications."
Future reports in the series will focus on natural resources and capital markets.