Steven Joyce says Labour’s opposition to the sale of 13,800ha Lochinver station to Shanghai Pengxin is based on “xenophobia.” The benefit from our land should stay here. Joyce’s open door has seen rail wagons bought cheap and fixed dear, at the expense of good local jobs and crucial Kiwi skills. Labour is simply standing up for New Zealand. Good on them.
Kiwirail cut 70 jobs at Hillside in Dunedin and Lower Hutt in Wellington in 2011. The Rail and Maritime Transport Union blames the cuts on KiwiRail’s decision not to tender for Auckland rail work and to send wagon contracts overseas.
“Four thousand to be built. That would have kept our railway wagons going for quite some time, given jobs to New Zealanders, helped actually dig this country out of the hole it’s in,” said Wayne Butson, the union’s general secretary. “The Transport Minister needs to front up and take responsibility for these proposed job losses. Inaction from Steven Joyce and KiwiRail has led to this situation,” he said.
“Steven Joyce’s assurances last May that ‘there will be lots of work for these guys, there’s no doubt about that’ have amounted to nothing, and now the local rail workforce and the wider Dunedin engineering sector is paying the price.”
Dunedin lobbied hard for the work and Mayor Dave Cull is angry.
“This is frankly a form of economic vandalism. What are we mounting here? An economic development strategy for China,” Cull said.
Skidding wheels – sums up Steven Joyce’s economic development strategy.
I think a much better strategy is to use our land to value add to its produce, and use our skills to build fit for purpose on a whole-of-life strategy, and keep good jobs here. I don’t think that’s xenophobia.