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Not Even Coal For David Clark This Christmas

News this week that KiwiRail workers have voted overwhelmingly for a strike in December, followed closely by the resignation of Chief Executive Greg Miller is a result of more Government incompetence, lack of oversight and failure to act, says National’s State-owned Enterprises Spokesperson Mark Mitchell.

“The serious internal issues within KiwiRail have been widely known for a long time and quick action was required by the Government to appoint a new Chairperson after the passing of Brian Corban. This didn’t happen.

“As a result, Minister Clark has allowed our internal supply chain to be hamstrung by an incompetent and rudderless KiwiRail.

“At a time when we are being heavily impacted by delays in the international supply chain, David Clark’s inaction has botched the only aspect of the supply chain that the Government can control.

“Freight and passenger rail around the country, as well as Inter-islander services, will grind to a miserable halt over December 16 and 17 – the South Island on the 16th and the North on the 17th, both for 24 hours.

“What this means is that if you’d like to use rail public transport in Auckland or Wellington, you’ll have to find another way.

“With the Interislander ferries already operating at 66 per cent on-time-performance this quarter, 22 per cent lower than their 88 per cent target, and spending 34 per cent of their time late, broken or docked in Wellington awaiting heavy maintenance, this strike is just the icing on the cake for a supply chain that was already under the pump.

“The damage is well and truly done to the supply chain as we move into Christmas and it is a disgrace that those Kiwis who are looking forward to a Christmas break are facing more disruption which could and should have been avoided.

“The Minister has completely failed and has been missing in action for the last 6 months. He needs to focus, show some urgency and immediately appoint a chair to the KiwiRail board.

“The incoming chairperson should then be directed to investigate the internal dysfunction at the executive level within KiwiRail, which has required the intervention of KiwiRail’s general counsel.

“Kiwis have had a rough year of incompetent governance. This will be the salt in the wound for Kiwi kids around the country waking up on Christmas day with their hope of gifts from afar dashed because Minister Clark can’t perform basic functions of his job as a shareholding Minister.

“Minister Clark needs to get KiwiRail back on track and fast, otherwise he’ll be lucky to even get coal in his stocking on Christmas Day.”

Notes to Editors:

Reply 51369 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: State Owned Enterprises (Hon Dr David Clark)
Question: What is the recent on-time performance of KiwiRail Interislander Ferry operations, if such data exists?
Reply: KiwiRail has reported that, in Q1 FY22, on-time performance for Interislander ferries, where arrival was within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, was 66%, against a target of 88%. This includes the impact on scheduled services due to the unexpected failure of the Kaiarahi gearbox.
51369 (2021)

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