A minister's refusal to give parliament a guarantee that KiwiRail won't be sold "at any time" has reinforced Labour's belief that it will be the next state-owned asset to go on the block.
KiwiRail's network and ferry assets are going to be written down from $13.4 billion to $6.7b and put into a new state-owned enterprise, it was announced on Wednesday.
Opposition parties said it was being prepared for sale, and in parliament on Thursday Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce was grilled about the government's intentions.
"The government has no intention, nor does it believe it would be possible, to sell KiwiRail," he said.
Labour's Clayton Cosgrove asked him whether that meant it wouldn't be sold "at any time" and Mr Joyce replied: "The reality is that you cannot guarantee anything in this world."
Mr Cosgrove says that's further evidence the government is going to follow up the partial privatisation of four energy companies by putting KiwiRail up for sale.
"He has failed to provide a guarantee, National has no credibility on this issue and can't be trusted to do what is right for our country," he said.
NZ First thinks KiwiRail is going to cut about 300 jobs over the next two years to make the company more attractive to private investors.