What progress has been made on the procurement of new electric trains for Auckland’s commuter rail system?
Good news. I am pleased to confirm to the House that new electric trains for Auckland rail commuters are one step closer, following KiwiRail’s announcement of a shortlist of two bidders. The selection process will be completed later this year, and I expect to see the first trains delivered in 2013. Rail’s popularity in Auckland is rising, and these new trains will build on previous work building new stations and upgrading the network. Getting all of Auckland’s transport corridors working effectively is crucial to getting the city to grow faster and provide more jobs.
Has the Minister seen reports speculating on the likely successful tenderer, and how accurate are these reports?
Yes, I have seen several reports calling for the procurement of new electric trains for Auckland to be delayed because they were to be built in China—a result of all sorts of wild conspiracies. As it turns out, the two shortlisted consortiums are from Korea and Japan, and Europe—I suppose at least Korea and Japan are in Asia. It is just as well KiwiRail continued with the procurement job. It all goes to show that people should treat these types of reports—
—and the relevant conspiracy theories, I say to Mr Mallard, which were from the Labour Party, with a very large grain of salt, especially in election year.
Does he agree that if he had not interfered in the process to buy the electric trains, Aucklanders would be riding them now instead of waiting through a 2-year process of missed deadlines and a shonky tendering process, which has seen four parties withdraw in protest?
I disagree with the member on two grounds. Firstly, the trains were always scheduled to arrive in 2013. Secondly, if I had not interfered, petrol prices in Auckland would be 10c a litre higher today than they are, because of Labour’s ridiculous regional fuel tax. If you want to campaign on bringing it back, then you should go right ahead—sorry, not you, Mr Speaker.