3 Jul 2017

KiwiRail refuses to release emails on blocked report

6:32 am on 3 July 2017

KiwiRail is refusing to reveal how its top officials reacted after the Transport Minister's office urged them to keep a report secret.

No caption

Simon Bridges' staff told a number of senior officials at KiwiRail that the minister was extremely uncomfortable with the report's proposed release. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

KiwiRail caved in to pressure from Simon Bridge's office, which didn't want the business case for a proposed Auckland rail line to be released, despite initially insisting the document legally had to be made public.

Mr Bridges' staff complained to a number of senior officials at KiwiRail saying the minister was extremely uncomfortable with the report's proposed release. KiwiRail then decided to withhold it.

The state-owned enterprise has declined to release the emails of those officials on the matter, saying it needs to "maintain the effective conduct of public affairs".

RNZ has complained to the Ombudsman.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier wrote to Prime Minister Bill English after the story broke last month, saying "such incidents have the potential to erode public confidence in democracy and the government".

After the role Mr Bridges played was revealed in Parliament by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, KiwiRail changed its mind again and released part of the Third Main Line business case report.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs