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KiwiRail Being Deliberately Run Off Rails by the Government

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader
3 March 2014

KiwiRail Being Deliberately Run Off Rails by the Government

The discovery of asbestos in Chinese-built KiwiRail locomotives has again exposed the folly of the Government’s short-sightedness in its deliberate policy of running down the railway system.

“This is not an isolated incident, this is the latest example of the ill-considered and short-term approach to procurement for government contracts,” says New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“How on earth did this happen, and why is this not a breach of contract? Clearly, along the way, there has been a grave mishandling of the contract.

“We know asbestos was found in Australian locomotives made by the same firm so there was plenty of warning before the New Zealand order was delivered.

“So, who bungled here?

“These locomotives should have been safe for workers and for the environment.

“Asbestos has been a nightmare for decades, that’s why we have all sorts of safety protocols around the handling and dumping of the material.

“Had the Government contract for the building of these locomotives been awarded here KiwiRail would have been assured of quality and safety and the flow-on effect in jobs and circulation of money in the local economy would have been a real boost.

“But the Government had its blinkers on, and could only see the dollar signs. Now we are paying the price.

“New Zealand First’s Buy New Zealand (Procurement) Bill will put an end to this and make sure New Zealand firms provide goods and services for the public sector wherever possible.

“KiwiRail is being starved by the National Government and these locomotives, which pose a risk to rail workers, are one consequence,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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