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KiwiRail to axe more jobs, MP says

03:04 AEST Wed Jul 11 2012
Train company cutting another 100 jobs, says NZ First's Brendan Horan
Train company cutting another 100 jobs, says NZ First's Brendan Horan

KiwiRail intends cutting another 100 jobs over the next year, says the MP who blew the whistle on the company's decision to axe up to 220 workers.

NZ First's Brendan Horan on Tuesday revealed KiwiRail had told staff between 170 and 220 line maintenance workers would have to go.

That was quickly followed by a company statement confirming he was right, and saying it needed to shave $200 million off its $950m expenditure over the next three years.

"That's just the start of the process," Mr Horan said.

"Behind the scenes, KiwiRail is planning a further 100 job cuts by the end of 2013."

State-owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall is refusing to comment and says the job cuts are an operational matter for KiwiRail.

"Mr Ryall is staying silent because he wants to keep New Zealanders in the dark over KiwiRail's future," Mr Horan said.

"The government is gutting our rail network so it can flog it off on the cheap to a private investor - we've been there before and it proved to be a costly disaster for taxpayers."

Labour also says KiwiRail is being prepared for sale.

"This is part of a process being used by the government to convince New Zealanders that KiwiRail is no longer a viable company and therefore should be sold off to private interests," state-owned enterprises spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said.

The previous National government sold the Railways Corporation in 1993 and Labour bought it back for $665m in 2008, renaming it KiwiRail.