PM wants KiwiRail work for NZ companies
As anger mounts over KiwiRail's decision not to bid to build Auckland's new electric train fleet, Prime Minister John Key says he hopes some aspects of the job can still be completed in New Zealand.The state-owned company confirmed yesterday that it would
As anger mounts over KiwiRail's decision not to bid to build Auckland's new electric train fleet, Prime Minister John Key says he hopes some aspects of the job can still be completed in New Zealand.
The state-owned company confirmed yesterday that it would not be tendering for the $500 million contract, with chief executive Jim Quinn describing it as "a challenge we could not meet".
He said KiwiRail lacked the scale to complete the job on time, and the project was risky because the workshops in Dunedin and Lower Hutt had never built electric multiple units before.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson said the decision was a slap in the face for hundreds of skilled rail workers at the Hillside and Woburn workshops, and was "defeatism at its worst".
He called on Mr Key to intervene.
However, the prime minister today said he hoped New Zealand companies would be used for some of the work.
"I'd actually hope that those international tenderers will consider using Hillside where it makes sense. And I think you will see a bit of that."
Specialist locomotives were likely to be built in countries like Korea but other parts of the upgrade could be done in New Zealand, he said.
"That will be something that an international tenderer will have to consider when they put their tenders to KiwiRail, whether they've achieved a balance that might be in their interest."
Mr Key said he had huge confidence in the Hillside workshop.
Mr Quinn said the decision was in no way a reflection on the confidence the company had in its New Zealand workshops.
"It is simply a case of needing to use the finite capital we have to rebuild a sustainable railway for New Zealand for generations to come. That responsibility requires us to make the best decisions in each case."
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