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Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

It has been revealed that KiwiRail is proposing replacing its electric locomotives on the North Island main trunk line with cheap Chinese diesel engines.

“This is turning back the clock to a 19th Century system at a time when the rest of the world is leaving dirty diesel behind and electrifying their transport.

“This is the same short-term cost cutting mentality that has seen KiwiRail buy cheap Chinese electric locomotives that spent months laid up with mechanical problems and asbestos contamination.

“This plan puts hundreds of jobs at risk and jeopardises billions of dollars of electrification infrastructure.

“The admission by Todd McClay that he hadn't been briefed by the KiwiRail board on the dirty diesel plan is alarming and shows the no surprises policy is clearly not working. The Minister needs to tell the KiwiRail board to send this retrograde idea back to where it came from,” Phil Twyford says.