web analytics

Choices, choices: Hillside & National’s priorities

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 pm, April 19th, 2012 - 25 comments
Categories: Economy, infrastructure, jobs, privatisation - Tags: ,

When it comes to doing dirty deals with a casino, selling our law so that it gets a convention centre and more profits from gambling addicts, National’s willing to die in a ditch. But when there was an opportunity to save and expand our high-tech, high-skill manufacturing at Hillside simply by requiring government bodies to consider the costs and benefits of their actions on the whole country, not their narrow corporate interests, National did nothing.

Now, Hillside is going to be privatised, and likely shrunk further or even closed, because National let the major rolling stock contracts go overseas. They did nothing while a state-owned company made New Zealand poorer and increased our current account deficit because it was good for Kiwirail’s individual bottom line.

Two things I’m looking really forward to from the Labour-Green government in 2014/15 – the reversal of whatever legislative favours National is about to give SkyCity (fuck the shareholders, give the leeches notice now) and a modern procurement policy that requires government bodies to account for the whole of economy/society and whole of environment impacts of their purchasing decisions. (not to mention an awards system, capital gains tax, extended paid parental leave, proper apprenticeship support, modern monetary policy, a full ETS/carbon tax, more modern state houses, pollution charging, Kiwis crewing Kiwi fishing vessels, no more asset sales, money to needed, sustainable transport rather than the RoNS ….)

25 comments on “Choices, choices: Hillside & National’s priorities ”

  1. Hilary 1

    Rumours around Wellington are that the new overseas built trains were a bit shoddy on arrival and had to be fixed up by locals for local conditions to make them fit for purpose. So getting them built overseas was false economy.

    • Shane Gallagher 1.1

      My friends at Hillside have confirmed that – there were all sorts of problems with the braking system and the wheels and the welding – technical stuff I didn’t quite get the gist of but the kind of mistakes that the trains built at Hillside and Wellington don’t have.

      It is not just Hillside – there are a lot of smaller businesses that rely on sub-contracts to survive. Dunedin could lose a huge amount of its engineering industry because of this. South Dunedin is already deprived enough as it is.

      • NickS 1.1.1

        This.

        The problem with giving the tender to the cheapest bider is that you can end up with a shoddy result, which in the long term will cost you more than one of the more expensive options. Especially if the contract doesn’t make the expectations crystal clear, or the company issuing the tender doesn’t care about the long term costs.

    • Roy 1.2

      Other things I’ve heard: The Matangi units actually seat fewer people than the old units, and they are very noisy, so that people living near the lines are complaining.

  2. DH 2

    It’s a very good argument James. Why did the Nats get so keen on a convention centre when they cast Hillside adrift costing loads of jobs and millions of dollars. Key could just as easily have negotiated the Kiwirail deals for locomotives & rolling stock and & he wouldn’t even have had to change any laws to do it. They’ve had numerous other chances to create jobs and they refused, their talk about the Convention Centre being about jobs & tourist dollars is just a big fat lie.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Why did the Nats get so keen on a convention centre when they cast Hillside adrift costing loads of jobs and millions of dollars.

      Oh, that’s easy. Gambling is a cheap and easy way for the capitalists to fleece the people – all they have to do is hire someone on minimum wage to plug in the machines. Actually producing stuff is expensive, risky and if it’s government owned the capitalists don’t get to keep the profits.

  3. millsy 3

    Putting aside for one moment the question of sourcing rolling stock, it has to be said that every railway operator, private or public has a certain amount of in-house heavy engineering expertise. If KiwiRail sells off the Hillside Workshops, it loses that expertise, and has to stand in line to expensively purchase them from an outside provider.

    KR is making a huge mistake here.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      “and has to stand in line to expensively purchase them from an outside provider.”

      Who can easily charge 10% more as a baseline because they know the customer’s options are limited.

  4. Nick 4

    Good point, for some reason I hadn’t connected SkyCity and Hillside despite hearing about both on the news today. Its not that difficult to consider wider economic benefits than a simple cost / benefit analysis but you need to let go of pet ideologies, something National and probably Key in particular find it hard to do because they have so much wealth invested in maintaining their world view.

    I really want to see Kiwis crewing Kiwi fishing vessels – the current situation is so many levels of wrong its disgusting, is this on any party’s radar in terms of specific policy?

    Research Tax credits, what’s the current state of that? A high value, high wage economy for a small country like ours is going to come from innovation an being world leaders in things like green technology or other intenationally desirable, future proof and high-tech industries. Being Australia’s sweatshop is easier for the government to manage (keep running the economy into the ground and we’ll become more and more attractive to outsource to) but its hardly a plan to be proud of is it?

  5. bad12 5

    We can definitely see the need for research and development in Green technology,half the homes in New Zealand,(probably more than), could with some ‘smart thinking’ be pumping electricity INTO the national grid on a daily basis as well as providing the in home hot water for most of us by building a standardized solar panel system and the industry to manufacture such…

  6. Apart from the usual political negative reactions the Hillside sale announcement has been looked at as a positive opportunity by most in Dunedin, including the union.

    RMTU general secretary Wayne Butson:

    If we can get someone who can bring in existing contracts, a workload, innovation, a bit of money and some determination, I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillside will survive.

    Past Labour and current National governments have tended to let the regions diminish. So it’s up to regions like Dunedin to turn national neglect into local opportunity.

    Could a move to private ownership make a Hillside sale an opportunity?

    • RedLogix 6.1

      If KiwiRail won’t give them business then they have to find a completely new field to compete in. Of course that’s a huge ask but in the meantime no-one really wants to talk their chances down.

      But the truth is … this govt has scrapped them… choosing to give NZ taxpayer money to Chinese companies than New Zealand ones.

      • vto 6.1.1

        “choosing to give NZ taxpayer money to Chinese companies than New Zealand ones.”

        Note quite mr logix,.. choosing to pay sweatshop wages to Chinese workers than decent wages to New Zealanders.

        That is the reality.

    • Galeandra 6.2

      ‘survive’ = ‘opportunity’?

      Real little booster you are, PG. Still, soooo many votes…………

  7. Janice 7

    Has Hillside been deliberately run down so it can be sold to a selected overseas buyer (we are being softened up for this already) who has had their eye on it for a while and wants to buy it cheaply and exploit the workforce?

    • This looks like a repat of Curran’s conspiracy theory.

      Perhaps rail is struggling to make money in New Zealand and efficiencies have to be made to try and help it survive. Most of Dunedin looks at what can be done to rescue the workshops, while Clare thinks a protest campaign might work. Where is she going to protest – overseas?

    • Te Reo Putake 7.2

      Well, it’d make a lousy casino, so possibly not! But there is no doubt that there is no one in NZ who would need a facility like Hillside, so an overseas buyer would have to be found.
       
      The cherry on the top is limited ongoing work with Kiwirail, so it would probably need to be a player in the heavy engineering market with expertise in delivery and repair of rail stock. There are plenty of those about, but whether NZ would be an attractive place for them to move to is the big question, because the rail work needs to be backed up with other engineering work. Finding the latter is the tricky part of the equation.

  8. RedLogix 8

    Or KiwiRail could have simply given it’s own business to it’s own workshops. How hard was that PG?

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Another “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” scenario. Work has dropped off apparently for Hillside, well thats what happens when you bloody contract out a large order (for rolling stock) that this facility was set up to produce.

    • marsman 9.1

      Jim Quinn, Kiwirail CEO was appointed in March 2009 by Shonkey’s lot no doubt to sneakily re-privatise Kiwirail and or sabotage it ( Gisborne- Napier line ).

    • David H 10.1

      So apart from Cunliffe who has said anything about this???? Ahhh no one as usual. Nice to see the Labour party has now positioned it’s self as the say nothing, do nothing Party, since Shearer came to power. So he has said he was not going to play Gotcha Politics. It would be nice if he could play anything politics. But no it’s loser politics as usual. So the way I see it, is at the Next election it will be The Greens and NZF to run the opposition, and Labour will be the 5 seat fill in.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago