24 Aug 2012

Injunction eased on RNZ over KiwiRail report

2:00 pm on 24 August 2012

KiwiRail is trying to block the publication of an internal draft report on the future of New Zealand's rail network.

Late on Wednesday night, the High Court granted KiwiRail an injunction preventing Radio New Zealand News from revealing the contents of the draft Infrastructure and Engineering Business Plan 2013-15.

The High Court on Thursday eased the restriction to allow coverage of debate on the issue in Parliament.

In the House, Labour MP Phil Twyford questioned Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, who was replying on behalf of the State-Owned Enterprises Minister.

"Has the board of KiwiRail advised him that from 2014 onwards the rail asset will decline, disruption risk will grow, that when spending gets back to current levels it will take many years to pull back from the decline, that virtually all rail routes will run down in some way?"

In reply, Mr Brownlee told Parliament that KiwiRail appeared to have assessed the risk to its network and made it clear that investment is needed.

Mr Twyford tried to table the report in Parliament - a move blocked by Mr Brownlee.

On his way into Parliament, Mr Brownlee defended KiwiRail's attempts to keep the report under wraps and denied a suggestion that the -owned company had something to hide.

"No, I think it points to some disgraceful reporting by someone who's acquired a stolen document and chosen to interpret it in a way that is completely unreasonable."

Outside the House, Mr Twyford said he believes the report should be made public.

"I think it's a disgrace, it's an insult to freedom of speech. This is a state-owned enterprise that's owned by the people of New Zealand.

"The people of New Zealand should be able to find out what's going on inside their railway company."