Govt didn’t undertake risk analysis on faulty locos

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

The Government’s insistence that its KiwiRail turnaround plan won’t be affected by its disastrous Chinese locomotive and rail wagon procurement programme is laughable given the extent of their faults, says Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

Govt didn’t undertake risk analysis on faulty locos

The Government’s insistence that its KiwiRail turnaround plan won’t be affected by its disastrous Chinese locomotive and rail wagon procurement programme is laughable given the extent of their faults, says Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

“They were so keen to buy cheap locos and wagons that they didn’t consider what would happen if they were duds. Now the whole country is paying the price and Kiwi workers are without jobs.

Acting Transport Minister Simon Bridges claims the Government carried out market valuations on the Chinese-made locomotives before purchasing them. But that flies in the face of revelations that 15 of 20 locos of the same class purchased by Malaysian Railways in 2005 were mothballed three years later due to severe technical problems, said Clare Curran.

“They may have carried out market valuations but did they undertake a risk analysis of the likely failure given the Chinese locomotives and wagons had already been proven to be faulty?

“Simon Bridges claims he’s frustrated with the serious failures in the 20 Chinese locos ordered by KiwiRail. But it was his own Government that championed the low cost deal with China North Rail.

The Minister also claims the repair work is covered by warranty from the manufacturer. But have the locomotives been paid for? Has the second batch put on hold been paid for and what happens when the warranty runs out?

“The faults in these locomotives may never be fixed and we may end up with the bulk of these expensive locomotives mothballed and the taxpayer paying the price.

“The Government should be held to account for this because it gave a clear signal to KiwiRail that a local build was not an option. That decision has cost jobs for workers at Hillside in Dunedin and other New Zealand firms.

“The Government should admit it made an enormous mistake by ordering these faulty locomotives and stop defending a process that involved signing off the purchase without properly assessing the risks,” said Clare Curran.

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