Should New Trains Be Built In NZ?
Labour is trying to pressure the Government to have Auckand’s new electric trains built in New Zealand.
In parliament this afternoon, Labour’s transport spokesman, asked this question of the minister:
Darren Hughes: What steps will the Government be taking to ensure that all or a substantial number of these units are built or assembled here in New Zealand, either at the Hillside railway workshops in Dunedin or at Woburn in the Hutt Valley?
STEVEN JOYCE: This will be a competitive tender process, and, of course, KiwiRail will have the opportunity to bid for that process. The most important thing, however, is getting the right value for money for taxpayers in developing the trains and ensuring that we can obtain the trains within the $500 million budget that has been set.
Hughes then issued a press statement saying:
The National Government’s lack of commitment to investing in rail and jobs in the Kiwi rail industry were highlighted in Parliament again today. When asked in Parliament to ensure that the Auckland electrified train units will be built in New Zealand, Transport Minister Steven Joyce would not give any guarantees,” Darren Hughes said.
“At a time of when unemployment is at a sixteen year high with 168,000 Kiwis out of work, National is refusing to take decisions that support jobs in our economy.
“The last Labour Government highlighted the ability of Woburn (Hutt Valley) and Hillside (Dunedin) to build or assemble rail units as a critical part of our economic stimulus plan if we were re-elected.“It seems National is not prepared to make a similar assurance to the local industry to support jobs and stimulate the local economies.”
Darren Hughes said that the Prime Minister’s much hyped Jobs Summit highlighted government procurement as an area that should be pursued. “But it turns out it was just a talkfest as Phil Goff said it would be and John Key promised it wouldn’t be. “John Key has shown little commitment to jobs and Steven Joyce has shown little commitment to rail.
“The decision on Auckland rail comes after 15 months delay. Labour had already started the procurement process and National’s delay has simply wasted Auckland’s time and cost taxpayers more money.
You know, I’m not sure Labour is squeaky clean on helping us get to electrification as fast as the ARC wanted to.
BTW, before Labour got on its feet, the minister was asked one of those patsy questions from his own party member.
Why do they bother?
Dr JACKIE BLUE (National) to the Minister of Transport: What progress has been made on the procurement of electric trains for Auckland’s commuter rail network?
STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Transport) : I am pleased to confirm that KiwiRail has begun the tender process to procure approximately 114 electric trains for Auckland. This is a $500 million investment, signed off by Cabinet in November, to upgrade Auckland’s commuter rail system. It will provide a modern, world-class rail system that commuters will want to use. KiwiRail has issued an industry-engagement document, and a preferred supplier will be identified by the end of the year. The first electric trains will be delivered in 2013.
Dr Jackie Blue: How does this fit into the overall upgrade of Auckland’s commuter rail network?
STEVEN JOYCE: Very well. The purchase of a new fleet of electric rolling stock is the final piece in the overall $1.6 billion project to greatly improve the capacity and reliability of Auckland’s rail network. The $600 million upgrade is progressing well. In addition, the $500 million electrification of the rail network infrastructure is also progressing well. The necessary new signalling is already being installed on parts of the network, and the first masts should begin appearing later this year.