The asbestos locomotives

March 5th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

At least two of ’s Chinese-made locomotives are so badly contaminated with they will have to be quarantined, parliament has been told.

KiwiRail on Friday said asbestos was found in the soundproofing compound used in 40 DL locomotives.

Some freight services were cancelled over the weekend while further tests were carried out.

In Parliament today Labour’s transport spokeswoman, Darien Fenton, asked Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee whether he still had confidence in KiwiRail.

He said he did.

“When the locomotives were manufactured, assurances were sought that no asbestos would be used and those assurances were given,” he said.

“Those assurances have turned out to be incorrect.”

Mr Brownlee said the locomotives wouldn’t be used until KiwiRail was completely satisfied there were no health risks to employees or the public.

This really is appalling. It is unclear how much fault lies with KiwiRail, but shouldn’t testing have been done, rather than rely on assurances? And I hope the contract is watertight so the manufacturers are liable for all costs, including business interruption.

It does also raise the question about whether the Chinese company was the right supplier. What was their track record?

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77 Responses to “The asbestos locomotives”

  1. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    One would hope that the suppliers of locomotives had a “Track Record”!

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  2. wikiriwhis business (4,209 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Manolo (14,179 comments) says:

    Spare of a thought for the hapless Chinese workers who build the machines.
    Definitely, life is very cheap in China, unless you are part of the Communist Party elite.

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  4. Rick Rowling (816 comments) says:

    It’s the new purchasing paradigm.

    Everything made in China is cheaper. We loooooove a bargain, and can’t help ourselves.

    Sometimes the quality is good. Other times it’s shite – just a little shite or a whole lot shite, but that’s what you get when you buy cheap from China. You pay less and take the risk.

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  5. Ashley Schaeffer (535 comments) says:

    Ms Fenton also said work on recovering a DL locomotive that rolled over in Auckland on Saturday had been halted because asbestos-laden material had been found underneath it.

    Mr Brownlee reacted to that with: “There’s no doubt about it – KiwiRail was a bit of a dead duck when it was announced by the Labour government some years ago and continues to be a problem-child for the Government.”

    Boom.

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  6. trout (957 comments) says:

    The equivocation of Kiwi rail over the contractural requirement that asbestoes not be used in the locomotives is a worry. The difference between ‘should not have been used’ and ‘must not be used’ is huge. ‘Should not have been ….’ seems pretty soft.

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  7. Pete George (23,833 comments) says:

    This is embarrassing for the Government – not their fault Kiwirail’s specifications were not complied with, but they’ll cop the flak for making the initial price such a deciding factor.

    Sometimes cheaper is not cheaper.

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  8. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    This is the reason government shouldn’t try running trains, or accident insurance, or any one of a hundred other commercial activities. Because asbestos in trains or the details of individual ACC claims becomes a Ministerial responsibility. We end up with a heavily centralised country where politicians make all the decisions, and that eventually leads to corruption.

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  9. dime (10,222 comments) says:

    What would have happened if a private company had imported these? jail time for someone? huge fines?

    Dime deals with a bunch of chinese factories and yeah they make mistakes, but holy shit this isnt just a mistake!

    The factory has farmed this out to another factory who are dodgy as fuck.

    Why werent these things tested in china? anything i have made is fully tested above and beyond. as it should be.

    Should customs have even allowed these things in?

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  10. dime (10,222 comments) says:

    also, mistakes like this dont justify the cries of “see, we should have built them here”.

    they should never have been built here. too expensive.

    the govt takes my tax money by force, i prefer them to try and spend it wisely…. tui ad

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  11. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    I think this is the tip of the iceberg. There were recently Chinese manufactured vehicles with asbestos in some of the heat shielding gaskets identified. Those, along with ‘common place’ installation of asbestos bearing insulation in trains tells a wider story. It ‘dont’ just happen, this has a manufacturing base supplying product to at least the auto and train industry, no small hiccup.

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  12. peterwn (3,338 comments) says:

    Traditionally organisations like railways, power companies etc engage inspectors who check things during manufacturing to help ensure such cock-ups did not happen. Wonder whether this is still the case?

    Any remember the old ‘Silver Star’ sleeper train purchased from Japan in the early 1970’s that ran between Auckland and Wellington. In the late 1970’s it was found to be full of asbestos and withdrawn from service for decontamination. It was going to be too expensive to remove the asbestos and replace it with something else so the carriages were sold ‘as is’ to an Asian country.

    Wonder if the same fate awaits these locos.

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  13. Gulag1917 (1,092 comments) says:

    You get what you pay for.

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  14. Bill (94 comments) says:

    Blocking the Hillside Works in Dunedin from even bidding was a destructive vindictive act by John Key and the National Party.

    There was strong advice from economists that the multiplier effect of constructing these rail items in Dunedin was far more attractive than the deal with China. There was no logic to the deal that was done.
    That begs the question: was there corruption behind the decision to buy from China? A number of current and former National Party politicians have close ties with Chinese business middle-men.

    Jenny Shipley and hubby are treated royally when in China.

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  15. SGA (1,276 comments) says:

    dime at 2:32 pm

    also, mistakes like this dont justify the cries of “see, we should have built them here”.
    they should never have been built here. too expensive.

    Well… that will depend on how much it ends up costing to fix this and the other rumoured issues.

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  16. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Blocking the Hillside Works in Dunedin from even bidding was a destructive vindictive act by John Key….

    Are you seriously suggesting the Prime Minister of the country involved himself in the tender process for these locomotives and he decided to arbitrarily rule out one of the tenderers?

    Do you have proof this was the case?

    Or are you just talking shit? :roll:

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  17. hj (7,182 comments) says:

    Bus companies had the same issues with Chinese busses; this goes to show private enterprise shouldn’t (blah, blah)

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  18. hj (7,182 comments) says:

    What Sir Henry said.

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  19. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Bill: I am no consipiracy theorist…I prefer the view that if it’s a choice between conspiracy and cock up, it’s probably a cock up….but some very serious questions need to be asked about this deal..surely KiwiRail wouldnt have had Shipley or some other ex Nat poli involved somehow in the deal?

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  20. big bruv (14,224 comments) says:

    Bill

    “Blocking the Hillside Works in Dunedin from even bidding was a destructive vindictive act by John Key and the National Party.”

    Rubbish, it was a great piece of work, something that Key should be proud of.

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  21. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Dime: I have been told that the industrial capacity of China is so vast and varied that you can pretty much buy whatever you like – whether it be a skil saw or a locomotive – at whatever price you specify… but the quality matches the price….obviously very cheap = shit and 10% less that everywhere else is probably just as good as the competitor… the buyer can choose….is that the size of it?

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  22. Chinarugby (97 comments) says:

    David – Bolger had some involvement in the deal – how little don’t know but I do know he accompanied Quinn to China re the deal at least once.

    I recall talking with Quinn as they were in the process of signing the agreement for the locomotives (I have no relationship with this industry or any players in it).

    It struck me then how Quinn seemed to know so little about the way things are done in China and he seemed to have a misplaced confidence that the cheaper deal (he was very enthused about that part for sure) would deliver exactly what would have come out of the NZ manufacturer – living and doing business in China for a long time meant I had experienced Chinese maufacturing ‘promises’ before – and the reality of the real outcomes.

    This or any other quality related issue to come from this deal is no suprise to China hands thats for sure.

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  23. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    @Bill (2.49pm): I really think you should familiarise yourself with some facts…

    The tender process was reviewed by the Auditor General last year. Please note there was no mention of any intervention in the tender process by the Prime Minister or by the Nats… according to the review, Hillside had lost out on a series of tenders because of the combination of high pricing / an inability to deliver on time / and a poor track record with existing orders. Hillside wasn’t even second best option.

    Indeed, the comment was made at the time: While KiwiRail considered Hillside’s ability to supply the additional rolling stock, China Northern was “significantly faster and cheaper” and the Dunedin facility was already behind on a separate wagon order.

    But if you still think the Prime Minister was responsible, I’ll happily retract my suggestion you’re a complete moron.

    The floor is yours…..

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/china-northern-trumped-hillside-filling-kiwirail-orders-auditor-general-says-bd-135592

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  24. big bruv (14,224 comments) says:

    Asbestos in trains?…who gives a shit.

    Trains are for low life left wing voters, decent folk drive cars.

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  25. Reid (16,739 comments) says:

    Maybe we just need to get over our asbestos hysteria, keep using the trains and just pursue breach of contract damages in the usual way. I mean how hysterical is it, to stop work on righting an overturned train because someone yells ‘asbestos.’

    And so what if its been used in car firewalls?

    Isn’t asbestosis caused by breathing in the fibres? And how is that going to happen if you’ve got the asbestos encased in resin as on the trains or covered by carpet on a firewall with presumably no rough edges around it and if you have a crash and it breaks because the engine shunts through it then presumably you’ve got more serious problems to worry about than breathing in a few asbestos fibres while you wait for the firemen to arrive.

    This country has turned into a bunch of hysterical schoolgirls if you ask me.

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  26. eziryder (16 comments) says:

    Look, I’ve been subcontracting heavy engineering components in Asia for years, and we always have our own experienced rep on site full time. This is factored into the cost, and is no different to what any major contractor like Bechtel would do anywhere in the world, it is procurement 101. So either they didn’t do this (just dumb) or he didn’t know what he was looking at (dumber)

    Can’t see how this is Govt’s fault, I would be seeking a few “leaving to pursue other opportunities” in management.

    Building trains here? Don’t make me laugh, it would be like building submarines in Australia.

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  27. PaulL (5,450 comments) says:

    Do I recall correctly that the NZ offer was more than twice as expensive? And that therefore, if they trashed these locomotives, and then paid to build entirely new ones without asbestos, they’d still be ahead? I’m assuming that when a supplier fails to meet specification you wouldn’t actually pay them to fix it, but imagining they maybe go bankrupt or something…

    The problem with an unprofitable and govt run railway company is that they really have no choice but to buy the cheapest. To do anything else would be misusing public money. If it were a privately owned company you could maybe just decide “I don’t want to buy trains from China”, and that’d be fine. You could buy nice german ones (probably second hand german ones, who could afford new ones). Or maybe Japanese ones.

    It’s kinda like buying a car. When you buy a private car, or one for a private company, it’s OK to buy a German one, or a Japanese one. God forbid you had to buy a Chinese one. But when you’re buying for govt, you have to issue a spec and then take the cheapest tender. That’s the rules. It’s also why I hate govt procurement.

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  28. Bill (94 comments) says:

    http://berl.co.nz/economic-insights/trade-and-industry/exports/it-s-time-we-got-patriotic-about-our-manufacturing-industry/

    In 2010, BERL prepared a report for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and Dunedin City Council that focused on the likely economic benefits to New Zealand of building new rolling stock here rather than importing them.

    At that time, the Government had announced a budget of up to NZ$500 million for the purchase of rolling stock for Auckland, with a proposed delivery schedule to begin in the first quarter of 2013.

    “Our research suggested that overseas manufacturers would need to produce the rolling stock at between 29 percent and 62 percent less than the price of manufacture in New Zealand to offset the benefits to New Zealand GDP of producing the trains here. This range was dependent on whether only the direct benefits were considered (29 percent) or the total benefits (62 percent) to New Zealand GDP.

    In addition, we also argued that there needs to be some consideration made about “whole-of-life” costs, rather than just initial manufacturing costs. Even if an overseas supplier could produce the rolling stock at a lower price than that of producing it in New Zealand, there may be substantially lower “whole-of-life” costs in making the trains here, with better access to ongoing maintenance facilities.”

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  29. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    A farmer’s son recently told me new tractors cost about $1,000 per horsepower.

    $75 million for 48x locomotives @ 3,600hp = $1.5 million each locomotive or $434 per horsepower. Less than half the cost of installed power in a tractor. Seems a bit too good to be true?

    At least the DL locomotives have good German engines in them…

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  30. Gulag1917 (1,092 comments) says:

    NZ will be buying Chinese planes next because the lowest tender is accepted.
    Incidents and accidents
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Airlines#Incidents_and_accidents

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  31. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – how many thousand tonnes can your car tow? ;-)

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  32. Grizz (613 comments) says:

    The problem is now having to use the Chinese legal system to correct the problem. I suspect we are going to be stuck with it and no repercussions will be made on the Chinese construction firm.

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  33. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    That’s not really the point is it Reid? An assurance was given that no asbestos was to be used. What ever the value of that assurance was, it must have played a part in the deal being accepted. As chinarugby points out what’s promised by Chinese manufactures and what’s delivered can be 2 different things, not a few people would expect some kind of auditing with such an expensive purchase and that an ‘assurance’ (presumably they got something in writing) would not only be adhered to but checked.

    Your point about the asbestos, if correct, being safe because it was under carpet or within resin, is fair – but that wasn’t part of the deal. The irony is that our dairy industry gets a kicking over milk product contamination by accident, yet the placing of this asbestos was deliberate – either that or the ‘assurances’ are somebody’s imagination at work.

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  34. Simon (785 comments) says:

    Asbestos Rail is debt enforced upon the NZ tax payer for left wing idelogical reasons. Labour Rail losing so much money as consumers dont really want its mickey mouse services Asbestos Rail got to take chances with budget equipment makers from the third world.

    If you have a crap government business service running for purely ideological reasons expect contiunal crap.

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  35. Lance (2,719 comments) says:

    Chinese competitors to our electronic devices have all the compliance labels, CE etc but a quick look inside reveals it to be complete shit, lies and bollox. In fact dangerous.
    But no-one seems to give a shit around here, especially the govt dept’s doing all the standards setting etc.
    Although I would note the Aussies do. We sell well into Aus because that crap is simply not allowed to be used. Interesting difference considering we are meant to be a unified standards environment.

    FWIW

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  36. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Chinarugby>It struck me then how Quinn seemed to know so little about the way things are done in China and he seemed to have a misplaced confidence that the cheaper deal (he was very enthused about that part for sure) would deliver exactly what would have come out of the NZ manufacturer

    But there is no NZ manufacturer. We haven’t made trains for a long while. We had a workshop that maintains trains and builds freight trailers wanting to get in to the hi-tech train manufacturing business, even though they had no skills or experience and the manufacturing run for this unique model would have been tiny.

    It’d be like trusting your local garage to build 50 unique cars for the NZ market, or the basis that they already employ mechanics and have a side business knocking out some trailers. Or like trusting Air NZ to produce its own jets.

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  37. Reid (16,739 comments) says:

    That’s not really the point is it Reid? An assurance was given that no asbestos was to be used.

    Which is why I said simply treat it as a breach of contract like any other. Big deal. Why make it a national media outrage lasting for days? Why withdraw trains from service? Why stop work on righting an overturned train?

    The ONLY thing that has changed in actual reality is that it’s been discovered. But it hasn’t done anything. No-one’s died. No-one’s become ill. The trains still work. Ergo the only real problem lies in the tiny minds of those who have demanded something be done about it and those who’ve decided to listen to their hysterical bollocks.

    Lucky no vampires were found, or taniwhas. Imagine what would have happened then.

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  38. itstricky (2,027 comments) says:

    So how many of the above posters vigorously upticked the decision to build a ferry in Bangladesh or where ever it was simply because it was cheaper?

    DPF have you forgotten this? Why would you attempt to blame Kiwirail?

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  39. PaulL (5,450 comments) says:

    I support building a ferry in Bangladesh, and I support building trains in China. You set a specification, you also set some terms around the company (do they have a demonstrated track record, have there been problems before, are they financially sound so we can sue them later, do they remediate when there are issues). You then run a procurement and buy the cheapest. You don’t discriminate against a country with whom we have a large free trade pact and say “actually, it’s an open tender except Chinese companies need not apply.” That would be illegal, and we’d be unhappy if they did it to us (particularly given the trade deal).

    But you have to manage what you’re buying, and you remediate it if there are issues. Many large manufacturing contracts have problems, this is only noise because some numpties thought these trains could be made in NZ.

    Reminds me of the apocryphal story about the F16 fighter. The best fighter jet money could buy, made with the cheapest bolts you can procure, the cheapest nuts, the cheapest rivets, etc etc. Govt procurement. The art is in the specifications, and making sure that what you specify is actually what you need. Alternatively, you buy off-the-shelf (more and more common in military procurements). You can go and see one that’s already made, do all your tests and inspections, then you say “I’ll have 20 just like that one.” Then you don’t need to have the management and procurement skills that custom build presupposes.

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  40. All_on_Red (1,751 comments) says:

    It’s funny people , well lefties, complain about trains made in China or boats made in Bangladesh, but no comment when Auckland orders electric trains from Spain.
    Racist much?

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  41. itstricky (2,027 comments) says:

    No. They (I) suggest that going for the cheapest option always ends in ‘you get what you pay for’. In that case it was Bangladesh. Pretty sure there were plenty of sensible comments on the ferry thread about how, if you chose to build in China, Bangladesh or Spain that you run the risk of not being able to control that build. I was not aware of the Spain one and the Bangladeshi ferry was the latest example that came straight to mind. Haven’t looked the old thread up, don’t even know whether it was there. Buyer beware I guess.

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  42. Bill (94 comments) says:

    All_on_Red @4.18

    There is definitely a racist streak running through some of the comments on the business and manufacturing behavior of the Chinese. It was the same when Crayford Farms were up for sale. If an English Gent had bought the farms the response would have been very different.

    Equally there was prejudice in the actions of John Key in killing off Hillside Works. All prejudice is stupid and destructive.

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  43. itstricky (2,027 comments) says:

    Possibly because they have a track record, not because they are Chinese, I would suggest. Think lead paint, baby formula, asbestos to name three off the top of my head.

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  44. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Calling Bill: Where is the confirmation that the Prime Minister vetoed Hillside from submitting a tender?

    Can you back up your statement – or will you just confirm you were making shit up?

    Your credibility = zero.

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  45. labrator (1,851 comments) says:

    Looks like Australia had this issue last November. That should’ve rung alarm bells and they were “certified asbestos free”.

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  46. Bob R (1,422 comments) says:

    ***There is definitely a r8cist streak running through some of the comments on the business and manufacturing behavior of the Chinese. It was the same when Crayford Farms were up for sale. If an English Gent had bought the farms the response would have been very different. ***

    @ Bill,

    What you call r8cist, is simply normal human behaviour of trusting those who we are more familiar with and are more similar to ourselves. What’s the problem with that?

    In the case of Chinese manufacturing/products there is a history of safety issues (eg. lead in children’s toys). I don’t think there is the same concern with products manufactured in Japan or South Korea.

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  47. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    ‘The ONLY thing that has changed in actual reality is that it’s been discovered. But it hasn’t done anything. No-one’s died. No-one’s become ill. The trains still work.’

    Good one Reid. Just because one area doesn’t comply no need to be concerned about any other because no one’s died, no one’s become ill. I think you’d be the first outraged if one caught on fire because wiring didn’t comply. Oh, that’s right you wouldn’t unless some one had died, or someone had become ill. Don’t pull the new airliners out of the sky just because the jet engine has dropped off one but still managed to land safely.

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  48. Bob R (1,422 comments) says:

    ***but no comment when Auckland orders electric trains from Spain.
    R8cist much?***

    @ All_on_Red,

    Maybe that is a rational response to the respective safety records? I’d recommend this essay by Ben O’Neill on the subject of discrimination:

    “Discrimination on the basis of predictive characteristics which are correlated with characteristic of direct interest is a form of rational discrimination. While it is often slandered as an injustice, rational discrimination is both rational and morally proper. In fact, since justice is the rational assessment and treatment of other people, rational discrimination is a necessary requirement for justice and the refusal to engage in such discrimination is itself an injustice.

    Even sex and race discrimination, the coup de grande of modern taboos, often involve little more than the recognition that these characteristics are correlated with qualities and behaviors that are of legitimate interest in many decisions.”

    http://mises.org/daily/3545/

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  49. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Fenton will be able to use her dope pipe to smoke the asbestos out, it being no worse than the crap she is/was on.

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  50. Bob R (1,422 comments) says:

    ***There was strong advice from economists that the multiplier effect of constructing these rail items in Dunedin was far more attractive than the deal with China. There was no logic to the deal that was done.

    That begs the question: was there corruption behind the decision to buy from China?***

    @ Bill,

    That’s an interesting point. I doubt there was corruption, but it is concerning if the government went with the China bid without looking at multiplier effects of supporting local manufacturing. It also seems inconsistent with our approach to supporting the film industry where multiplier effects are obviously considered.

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  51. Steve (North Shore) (4,538 comments) says:

    Reid @ 3.19.
    Just one fibre of asbestos can destroy a cell. Now if you only have two brain cells, this is very dangerous stuff

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  52. Steve (North Shore) (4,538 comments) says:

    Elaycee,
    I reckon one of those nasty asbestos fibres got one of Bills brain cells, and now he can’t respond

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  53. Steve (North Shore) (4,538 comments) says:

    You get what you pay for – true.
    The TAXPAYER pays for incompetence again

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  54. adze (2,130 comments) says:

    You know what pisses me off about this? China gets away scot-free with sending us lead-based childrens paint, asbestos-contaminated trains, and god knows what else, because they’re China and everyone just accepts it because they make cheap stuff.
    But we have one little scare with milk? And the Chinese government-controlled news agency Xinhua has the unmitigated gall to accuse us of “laissez-faire” ideology and a “100% pure festering sore”. Fuck them and their sanctimonious hypocrisy.

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  55. Bill (94 comments) says:

    Elaycee @2.57

    The KiwiRail Board had to comply with legislation that means it must make investment decision on the merits as they impact the P&L and Balance sheet of the company.
    John Key was give public advice that a nation economic interest and the multiplier effect would favour Hillside and that the government should use its powers to instruct the board to uses those factors in its decision process. Key choose not to instruct the board to take that approach and in so doing he blocked Hillside from being a real player in the tender process.

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  56. Bill (94 comments) says:

    BERL warned against sacrificing quality for the allure of an initial low price tender price. While conceding that New Zealand could conceivably get the trains built cheaper elsewhere, the report points out that almost all rolling stock purchases being made by other developed countries were sticking with companies that have established quality and safety records. Translation : not from China.

    BERL Report here
    http://www.rmtunion.org.nz/documents/downloads/kiwirail-build-in-nz/BERL_Report-Economic_benefits_of_building_rolling_stock_in_New_Zealand_Final.pdf

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  57. Viking2 (11,685 comments) says:

    So how many of you check Chinese food that you buy for contamination? Even the Chinese don’t want to eat their food but are happy to sell it to our importers.

    I would worry more about the food than some asbestos locked up in some resin.

    However the problem is not confined to asbestos.
    The trains ran for a few kilometers and then their wheel bearing started to collapse.
    supposed toi be SKF.
    SkF rep took one look, laughed and left.

    Chinese made bearing woth world labels are a plague and in Aussie hundreds of tons of them have been seized
    and destroyed.
    Chinese bolts and nuts fail the strength tests and have been used in a lot of construction throughout NZ.
    Thousands of them in some constructions.
    So ya gotta test.

    The good thing is that Chinese leadership is cracking down on substandard and is closing down factories that are not getting up to standard.

    Still good things take time. Lol

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  58. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    I like the assumption that the integrity of the resin having any propensity to break or ‘dust’ up isn’t a concern, after all these guys provided the glue to adhere the heat shield plates to the Columbus – or was that just copying the name of the glue for their own flower and water product, or maybe just a story one of Len Brown’s interpreter’s told Quin in a Hong Kong hotel room?

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  59. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Bill (6.31pm): Key choose not to instruct the board… …and in so doing he blocked Hillside from being a real player

    Whaaat? Is that it???

    So the PM leaves the Board of KiwiRail to make it’s own decisions and you convert that to: Blocking the Hillside Works in Dunedin from even bidding was a destructive vindictive act by John Key…

    Pffttt….. Hillside did submit a tender, but they were uncompetitive for the reasons detailed by the Auditor General.

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  60. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    TAKE IT AWAY SISTER ROSETTA

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  61. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    New Zealand railway workshops have never ever built diesel electric locomotives from scratch. The best we have ever done is overhauled/rebuilt them. The option with the DL’s was buy from America/Europe or China. With hindsight we should have taken the first option. When you hear labour folk carrying on about Hillside/Gracefield/Addington they are just talking shit. All we ever did there was build steam engines, wagons and overhaul diesel or electric loco’s.

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  62. hj (7,182 comments) says:

    Former Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden has apologised for “an ill-judged” warning to business people not to trust Chinese.

    The leading New Zealand businessman who was recently named as the new chairman of Auckland International Airport has been reported as telling a weekend business conference in Tauranga to be be wary of fraudulent behaviour when doing business in China.

    Van der Heyden, who today attended his last board meeting as a director of Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest company whose biggest export customer is China, confirmed he did make the remark “Don’t trust them … never”.

    ” “

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  63. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Really wow what great advice

    JESUS CHRIST

    What do you people expect from a system that systematically murdered
    40 million or more of IT’S OWN PEOPLE

    Now all you COMMIE lovers
    worship MAO’s Maori Feather Coats
    until the feather drops

    As they say a tonne of feathers weighs the same as a tonne of steel

    The only good thing about this is
    you all better hope

    all the hardware they are building to invade the South Pacific
    in time

    is equally as C R A P

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  64. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    All on Red (4.18 post) and Bill (4.30) play the racist card against those questioning the purchase of asbestos-contaminated locomotives from China.

    National MP’s and or their families have been getting close to Chinese business, from Pansy Wong
    and Jenny Shipton to Judith Collins. These MP’s and their families may be straight, but they are playing with fire by getting close to business people from a communist, pseudo capitalist state with a high level of cronyism and corruption.

    Calls of “racist!” when questions are raised about these links just heighten suspicion.

    All on Red says no-one has questioned the buying of equipment from Spain. Has there been any report of asbestos in this gear? Not that I have seen.

    Families of National MP’s who wanted to play international magnates would be safer linking up with Spanish businesses, because there is far less corruption in Spain, and there is a Western legal system under EC control which keeps things relatively straight.

    Of course, if things did get a little murky in these Spanish links, the National PR flakes wouldn’t be able to put up a smoke screen of “Racism! Racism!”

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  65. UrbanNeocolonialist (315 comments) says:

    Spend time in china (as I have) and you quickly realise that chinese do not trust chinese business – imported goods goods sell at a premium because the local stuff is so frequently shit. If you do buy from chinese vendors you will get screwed frequently. There are no functional consumer protection laws (customer always wears the cost), and no way to assess the trustworthiness of suppliers before you deal with them.

    NZ is getting rich off it because Chinese do not trust Chinese food production (milk) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal

    One of best approaches I’ve come across to doing business with Chinese companies is to utilise a chinese sourcing company as your middle man as they are big enough, and pay off the right people to ensure that their interests are looked after – it’s a form of insurance in the purchasing process.

    Bob R, trying to label the obvious and pervasive failings of Chinese commercial culture as racism is just fuckwittery.

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  66. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    All we ever did there was build steam engines, wagons and overhaul diesel or electric loco’s.

    AND I WILL TELL YOU WHY BECAUSE THE LAND IS FULL OF

    GROVELLING SNIVELLING APPEASSING CRAWLING

    REPULSIVE LITTLE IDEOLOGISTS WITH OUT A TECHNICAL BRAIN CELL TO SHARE
    BETWEEN THEM

    TECHNOPHOBES

    PEOPLE ANTI NEW ZEALAND

    TRAITORS AND COMMIE LOVERS WHO WILL AND ARE

    AND HAVE BEEN SELLING THE WHOLE REGION DOWN THE DUNNIE

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  67. gump (1,685 comments) says:

    @Gulag1917

    NZ will be buying Chinese planes next because the lowest tender is accepted.
    Incidents and accidents

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Airlines#Incidents_and_accidents

    ———————————–

    Did you actually read the list that you linked? Almost all of those planes were made in the USA, and the remainder were made in Europe or Japan.

    There isn’t a single Chinese made aeroplane on the list!

    Whoops…

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  68. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    There were 6 of the DLs coupled together, on a remote siding at the far side of the Wellington rail yard this morning.

    [That’s 22,000 horsepower combined, it’s a lot of machinery :-) ]

    Presumably they will remain there until the powers that be decide what to do about the asbestos?

    At least they have good German/American engines in them, hopefully they will serve the country for a long time once this is sorted out…

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  69. Dave Mann (1,246 comments) says:

    Actually what’s wrong with using asbestos to soundproof these locomotives? Asbestos is only harmful if you hred it and breathe it in, so WTF is everybody pissing themselves about? Just asking….

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  70. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    Dave – The news article said the asbestos discovered in the engine that rolled over was “highly degraded” – i.e. breaking up, which is when it becomes hazardous, as it tends to form dust, and the dust does the damage when you inhale it.

    A lot of old factories and warehouses around NZ have a roofing material called “super 6″ which looks like corrugated iron, only thicker and the corrugations are much bigger. They are lovely buildings, the asbestos really keeps the heat of the sun out.

    It’s no wonder people used to think it was a wonder product…

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  71. Dave Mann (1,246 comments) says:

    RRM yes I take the point about the degrading, but has anybody seen whether or not the asbestos is properly contained in these locos? Its hardly likely that its just stuffed behind some panels…. its more likely that the panels themselves are completely sealed and contain asbestos as some sort of core. If the loco crew drill into the panels and snort the contents for fun, then there might be a problem, but otherwise no. And in a crash which is severe enough to roll a locomotive, I would think that degraded asbestos within the soundproofing would be the LEAST of their problems :D

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  72. Dave Mann (1,246 comments) says:

    Just as a bit of fun, I wish I could draw cartoons. Imagine some poor old dear stuck on the tracks in her wheelchair…. freight train rushing towards her… speech bubble “shit, I hope there’s no asbestos in that loco’s soundproofing *#+©¿×!!!”

    Just saying…

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  73. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    I have no idea. But it was reported they were treating it as a hazardous site so it must have been pretty bad.

    And the railways routinely drive the locomotives over an inspection pit in the workshops for proper maintenance every so often, and occasionally they lift the bodies right off the chassis to do major work – it is not like your grandma’s sewing machine that is run year in, year out and never EVER opened up for maintenance. The potential for mechanical damage to the panels (leading to some poor bastard ending his days coughing his lungs out) seems real enough… imo!

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  74. campit (467 comments) says:

    It does also raise the question about whether the Chinese company was the right supplier.

    Perhaps you should ask Sammy Wong for comment?

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  75. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Are Kiwirail developing a bit of a track record of getting their major purchase decisions horribly wrong. The purchase of the Aratere which turned out to be a lemon, the lengthening of the Aratere which had huge cost over runs and perhaps lead to the snapping off of the propeller in the cook straight and not the purchase of asbestos infested locomotives.

    Perhaps the next CEO needs to have some experience in running a rail company.

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  76. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Dave, with the information that has been available about the dangers of asbestors for the last 30 years or more it is reasonable to suggest that this is a fuck up on someones part and it should not have been allowed to be used as soundproofing in the Locomotives in the first place.

    Raises the question, what was specified – If it was asbestos who didn’t read the speciification in Kiwirail, if some other product was specifiied what chance does Kiwirail have of enforcing warrantees etc.

    I suspect we may never find out one way or the other

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  77. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Melamine in your Milk anyone

    Progress in Communist china is this

    Instead of Burying people you don’t like alive
    and they boast of about 450,000 or those

    Now
    You harvest their Body parts and sell them
    you do that while they are alive

    That is the new economic progress

    Look into that want’ you – Commie Lovers

    That is the New Socialist form of Cannibalism

    Criminals in China are people who question the LOONIE SYSTEM AND the LOONIES IN IT

    Rewi Alley the Socialist Traitor of NZ – Started it all

    Did he preach industrial development and technical development of NZ?

    No he did not he formed his ideas about the Same Time Adolph Hitler did

    JOHN is the KEY with his

    COWALA Milk

    HERE IS IT?

    Cuckoo it is time to go and visit Maos Cloak
    wow WHAT A LOAD OF C R A P

    We need commies to help us make a train
    what a god damn joke

    TECHO PHOBIA

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