Written By: - Date published: 9:56 am, June 21st, 2011 - 63 comments
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I remember a certain PM who used to claim to be “ambitious for New Zealand”. In the real world, it seems that was all just talk. Because given the choice between investing in New Zealand industry and workers, and perhaps (in the short term) saving a few bucks, Key’s government decided to put the money in to China.
It’s about KiwiRail, and the new railcars for Auckland. Dunedin’s Hillside Railway Workshops were in effect told that it wasn’t worth their while even tendering for the contract. As Marty G put it at the time: “National and Kiwirail CEO, Jim Quinn, have displayed a pitiful lack of belief in the ability of New Zealand and the kind of knuckle-dragging narrow-mindedness that has been holding this country back ever since the neoliberal revolution”. Sums it up.
Workers are convinced that the 40 job-cuts already announced are just the beginning. The Government seems determined to shut Hillside down. … If Hillside is shut down, it will affect hundreds of Dunedin families. Not just the workers at Hillside, but also at the firms that sub-contract to them. And the decision is a crazy one. …
I don’t blame KiwiRail. I blame the Government. The National Government is the owner of KiwiRail and a major source of its funds. As an owner, they can instruct KiwiRail to consider whole-of-economy benefits when making decisions. Instead, the Government is saying: “take the cheapest price”.
This one is personal for me. We’re good friends with a young family. He works at Hillside – works his guts out with all the hours that he can. Big mortgage. Young kid. And this huge cloud hanging over all of them. Will he have a job next year? Does Hillside have a future? It’s torture.
Hillside is fighting back. Check out their blog. And come along to the public meeting, Wednesday 22 June, 7.00 p.m.. Cargill Enterprises Hall 199 Hillside Road (opposite Hillside Workshops). See the poster on the blog. Get there if you can.