Roseneath resident Trevor Hislop is still searching for
answers about KiwiRail's Chinese wagon tender. Photo by
A Dunedin man who started his career at Hillside claims
there is something fishy about KiwiRail's tendering of 300
wagons to a Chinese company and has launched his own
investigation into the deal.
Trevor Hislop (77), of Roseneath, started an apprenticeship
at Hillside Engineering Workshops when he was 17.
He spent five and a-half years working on steam locomotive
construction at the South Dunedin facility, and said he
helped build the JA locomotive now on display at the Toitu
Otago Settlers Museum.
Mr Hislop said it appeared KiwiRail had something to hide in
relation to the wagon tender and he had lodged a formal
complaint with the Ombudsman against the state-owned
Mr Hislop spent most of his engineering management career
overseas but returned to Dunedin about 12 years ago and
became concerned when KiwiRail awarded a tender for rail
wagons to a Chinese company over Hillside.
He lodged an Official Information Act (OIA) request with
KiwiRail earlier this year and in response he received a
censored copy of a letter dated August 19, 2011 from
KiwiRail's mechanical general manager Lloyd Major to the
company's board of directors.
It stated the four short-listed companies for the wagon
tender were Hillside, Bradken - which has just bought
Hillside's foundry - China CNR Corporation Ltd (CNR) and
China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Ltd
The letter included each company's quote but all Bradken and
CSR data was blacked out on Mr Hislop's copy.
His OIA request specified all quote information, yet he was
only given the subtotal and total prices from Hillside and
CNR, which won the tender.
Hillside's total was listed as $37.7 million and CNR's $31.3
"The obvious question to be asked is did all tenderers quote
for the same unit quantity?
"If they did, why conceal this data?
"If they did not, then this was not a fair tender process,"
Mr Hislop said.
He hoped to receive full disclosure through the Ombudsman and
said KiwiRail, as a state-owned enterprise, should be more
Its censorship indicated it had something to hide, Mr Hislop
"It is unacceptable nonsense and KiwiRail needs to be brought
to task for this action," he said.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn told the ODT certain
information was withheld from Mr Hislop because it was
"commercial in confidence".
He said the cheaper Chinese tender was chosen because
KiwiRail had limited funds.
Hillside also would have taken longer to produce the wagons,
KiwiRail was told at the time of tendering.
Mr Quinn said KiwiRail was pleased with the performance of
Earlier this year, it was revealed the brakes on hundreds of
Chinese-built freight wagons ordered by KiwiRail had to be