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KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out

Phil Twyford
Transport Spokesperson

14 February 2013

KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out

KiwiRail has admitted that its failure to maintain old and damaged culverts was behind the wash out that closed the Gisborne-Napier line, while cuts to its maintenance budget are putting the network at further risk, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“Across the country KiwiRail missed its target of replacing 71 old culverts last year, and only replaced 49. This is cause for alarm.

“The Gisborne-Napier wash-out shows what happens when essential maintenance work is not carried out.

“KiwiRail cut and deferred $200 million of network maintenance last year. At the very time it needs to be upgrading its network and improving efficiency, the Government’s unrealistic ‘Turn Around Plan’ is putting enormous stress on the organisation and forcing it to cut maintenance.

“KiwiRail has told Parliament’s transport committee it has 12,197 rail line culverts around the country and has done a risk assessment identifying 53 high priority culverts but ‘…in spite of every effort to mitigate risk, some incidents of wash out may still occur…’

“National’s plan for rail is not workable. KiwiRail has missed its financial targets for two of the last three years. It is being forced to make cuts that are a false economy.

“At a time when the Government is wasting billions of dollars on its ‘motorways of madness’, it makes no sense to cripple the national rail line.”

ENDS

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