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.
Quinn told Kiwirail workers yesterday that the company won’t even be tendering for the contract to build the new railcars it is purchasing for Auckland. That means the job will definitely go overseas.
I can see the logic if it was decided that the costs and benefits of a Kiwirail bid didn’t stack up, but to not even bid, that is shameful.
If he had wanted to, if he had believed in New Zealanders, Steven Joyce could have put the word on the board of his expectations. Or he could have made new rules for Kiwirail so that when making purchasing decisions it must consider the whole of government, of whole of country costs and benefits; not just just what is best for its balance sheet as a sub-unit of the government but what is best for New Zealand.
It is simply illogical for government bodies to only consider what is best for them as if they are private, independent companies. You don’t let your hand do whatever it wants without thinking of the consequences for the rest of you. You wouldn’t expect a subsidary of a major company – say Fonterra – to act without considering the costs and benefits to the wider group. So why the hell should a government body be allowed to send work overseas when it is clearly in the fiscal interest of the government as a whole and the econoic interest of the country to keep the work here?
This isn’t just about national spirit and a belief in New Zealand. It’s about acting smarter and making the right choices for the economy. Joyce and National have proven that they neither believe in New Zealand nor have the brains to recognise the smart moves for the country.