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Jim Bolger's Kiwirail job on the line

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jim Bolger
Jim Bolger

Wellington, March 21 NZPA - Former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger's reign at KiwiRail looks set to end after Transport Minister Steven Joyce this morning said its governance needed refreshing.

A previous National Government sold off the rail but Labour bought back the track network in 2003, then in July 2008 purchased Toll NZ Ltd and renamed it KiwiRail and at the same time appointed Mr Bolger as chairman. Mr Bolger's original one year term was extended for another year.

National disagreed with the decision to buy Australia's Toll Holdings saying the $690m price was far too high and less than a year later the rail assets were valued at $349 million.

Mr Joyce was asked on TV3's new political show The Nation to confirm that Mr Bolger would not be reinstated when his term expires in June.

"The governance of KiwiRail is the responsibility of my good friend (State Owned Enterprises Minister Simon Power) but we are looking at refreshing the governance."

Asked to clarify he said "my understanding is that we're looking at renewing the governance but that's for Simon to announce".

Mr Joyce said the decision to buy Toll was "nuts" and the price paid "way over the top" but it had been done and the Government would make the best of it.

He said new investments would be made carefully.

A spokesman for Mr Power would not confirm the possibility of letting Mr Bolger go.

"Changes to the whole SOE portfolio are being made in early April and its not our practice to announce changes to individual boards ahead of those six monthly announcements."

The spokesman said every year there were some changes as terms expired and some people stood down or were not reappointed.

Last year there was some speculation that former Labour deputy leader Michael Cullen would take over Mr Bolger's role as chairman of NZ Post. Dr Cullen was made a deputy when he resigned from Parliament.

Mr Bolger, via a KiwiRail spokesman, referred requests for comment to Mr Power.

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