MP challenges KiwiRail tendering

By Dene Mackenzie

Government suspected of blocking plans to build wagons in Dunedin.

Clare Curran has asked for an urgent inquiry into KiwiRail's process for buying wagons in the last two years. Photo / APN
Clare Curran has asked for an urgent inquiry into KiwiRail's process for buying wagons in the last two years. Photo / APN

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has written to the Auditor General asking for an urgent investigation into the tendering and decision-making processes that KiwiRail used to procure rail wagons in the last two years.

She has also asked for an investigation into the extent and appropriateness of political involvement and interference in tendering decisions made by the KiwiRail board. She told the Otago Daily Times she believed the board had blocked proposals from Hillside and KiwiRail management for rail carriages to be built at the Hillside workshops, in Dunedin.

The South Island organiser for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, John Kerr, said in an interview that he was at a meeting of the KiwiRail mechanical industrial council on September 27 when a briefing was given on the progress on the sale of Hillside.

At that meeting, a study was presented looking at producing 100 flat deck wagons a year from Hillside - the type of work the workshops excelled at, he said.

KiwiRail had planned to buy several thousand wagons from overseas, partly because the company believed it did not have the scale to produce them quickly in Dunedin.

Mr Kerr said the meeting was told the decision not to progress with the proposal for Hillside was made at board level and with the shareholder - the Government.

- Otago Daily Times

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