Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Finally Some KiwiRail Accountability?

Trying to recover from its annus horribilis, KiwiRail has been quietly laying off many of its most senior managers.
A restructure that began last October has hit up to 65 people - including senior engineers, administrative staff and middle and senior management. Among those 'executed' were passenger train boss Deborah Hume, engineering and infrastructure boss Rick van Barneveld and Interislander boss Thomas Davis.
Staff heard about the restructure in October, but no announcement was made publically and KiwiRail only confirmed the redundancies to the media this week.
KiwiRail has had a tough year, on the rails and the water. In August, it reported a loss of $248 million for the year to June, with ongoing maintenance problems with its pathetically-performing Cook Strait ferries (and the fault-ridden temporary replacement) costing the company tens of millions. In the latest in a string of disasters for the Interislander division, the Aratere again missed a departure this month because of an electrical fault, leaving hundreds stranded for hours.
On land, KiwiRail also ran into difficulty, with the discovery of asbestos in 40 of its new freight locomotives in March, forcing it to shed 20% of its fleet while the locomotives were repaired.
So instead of a much-needed governmental enquiry into its running, KiwiRail seems to have simply decided to clear out most of the top shelf – who had overall responsibility for the farcical running of the company – and start afresh in the New Year.
One can only hope this will be evidenced quickly, in the daily running of the otherwise global-joke Cook Strait ferries…

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