Transport Minister Simon Bridges needs to clarify his position and order an independent review into KiwRail’s decision to replace electric freight trains with unreliable diesel trains, the Green Party said today
On Friday Simon Bridges conceded that "there is an avenue down the line for different decisions to be made…” This followed the release of internal KiwiRail reports showing that new diesel trains could cost $230 million more than upgrading the electric fleet, and raising concerns about their reliability.
“It’s possible Simon Bridges was never shown KiwiRail reports highlighting significant concerns about the cost and reliability of switching to diesel trains. He should demand an immediate independent review of KiwiRail’s decision," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
“Now Simon Bridges has seen these reports, stating that electric trains are significantly cheaper than diesel, he may well regret supporting the decision to go diesel.
“Treasury told Ministers a day before the scrapping of electric trains was announced that ‘the actual cost this decision is not clear’. It looks like KiwiRail failed to give ministers all the relevant information.
“KiwiRail is owned by all New Zealanders and the Green Party doesn’t want to see it run down again by the same short-sighted decision-making that crippled our railways in the 1990s.
“Electric rail is significantly faster, cleaner, more reliable and cost-effective in the long-term. Switching to diesel trains will undermine the future of rail in this country," said Ms Genter.