Poor Quality Locomotives Will Cripple Kiwirail in Future
New Zealand First is opposed to KiwiRail replacing its North Island electric-powered trains with diesel locomotives from
China – it’s a dinosaur decision.
“Importing more lower-cost DL-class diesel locomotives from China when KiwiRail has found them to be unreliable and poor
quality raises questions about its judgement,” says Transport Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.
“These locomotives have proved to be of low standard, the same as quantities of imported steel and plumbing products
coming from China – it’s senseless. The old saying is true: you get what you pay for.
“We call on Transport Minister Simon Bridges to step in immediately. The reasons are stacking up:
• KiwiRail bought 48 diesel locomotives from China, but 40 contained asbestos despite the Chinese being repeatedly told
no asbestos was to be used. The clean-up cost $12 million, but more asbestos has been found.
• Despite this, KiwiRail revealed it had ordered 15 more and now wants to order more to replace electric trains on part
of the Auckland to Wellington line.
• These diesels cost twice as much to run as the 35-50 year American-built diesel locomotives that KiwiRail uses.
• They cost three times as much as the electric fleet KiwiRail wants to replace.
• It’s visionless to put diesels back on the line in an age of concern about climate change, particularly given
electricity is a resource NZ is not short of.
• KiwiRail continues to run down services, closing the Kauri to Otiria line in Northland, and halving the trains from
Whangarei to Auckland.
“Chinese manufacturers can produce quality, but as a steel expert pointed out recently, we will continue to get low
quality products if we don’t have Kiwi experts on the ground testing the quality.
“A balanced transport network of road, rail and shipping is common sense for the future.
“However, it will be crippled if National allows a massive buy up of cheaper locomotives. Making limited savings on the
purchases now will add huge costs down the track.”