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The losses keep coming

Written By: - Date published: 12:08 pm, September 24th, 2012 - 54 comments
Categories: jobs, same old national, unemployment - Tags: , ,

Welcome to National’s economy: Kiwirail has just announced 158 infrastructure and engineering job losses, and this afternoon Solid Energy will probably announce the loss of 300 jobs at Spring Creek, and 200-250 elsewhere.  This on top of the swathe of job losses in Huntly and Christchurch Solid Energy announced a month ago.

The Spring Creek miners aren’t going to take it lying down – they march on Parliament tomorrow, to appeal to their bosses bosses: the Government.  The workers plan to give their alternate plan to ministers; they accept 70 job losses to save the rest.

Kiwirail desperately needs more infrastructure and engineering work to get our tracks up to speed. Best put by the RMTU’s Wayne Butson:

“We fought hard to save as many jobs we could. With rotting Peruvian sleepers and hundreds of wooden bridges beyond their centenary of service, the last thing KiwiRail should be doing is laying off skilled workers.”

Vital rail work would not get done or would be delayed which would compromise safety and performance, he said.

“We’ll see more temporary speed restrictions in place and a greater potential for derailments and other critical incidents, with customers and staff paying the true cost of the cuts.”

These are both SOEs, that the government could be putting valuable investment into the economy through, doing vital work that is needed – instead they’re being run-down and parts flogged off.  Valuable jobs are being lost when the economy can least afford them to be; skilled workers are being lost from Aotearoa to Australia.

Great work National – best we pay more people the dole rather than have productive work done by skilled workers.


54 comments on “The losses keep coming”

  1. Jokerman 1

    MSM-Nuplex plan to close factories in NZ and Oz in next two years

    • mike e 1.1

      delta are axing 60 jobs airnz is downsizing govt dept.s continue to down size but increase numbers of consultants

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        We have an economy which does not need workers, either skilled or unskilled.

        Let’s go trade some derivatives, that will make NZ wealthy.

  2. Jilly Bee 2

    Having travelled on the Trans-Alpine Express two years ago and to Wellington on the Northern Explorer in July – I was appalled by the condition of the tracks – some parts were worse than a badly pot-holed road. I half expected us to derail several times – it was an ordeal to get up to go to the Cafe Car and/or the toilet. I do not recall the tracks being in such a state when travelling on the Limited Express and the Railcar from Rotorua to Auckland, nor on the Auckland – Wellington Express, even though those trips were several years ago.

    • vto 2.1

      You can blame ‘Sir’ Michael Fay for that jilly bee.

      They systematically rorted NZ Rail so as to pull out every single cent of available cash for themselves rather than use that cash to maintain the lines, wagons, etc. Ever wonder why you see trains travelling at snails pace sometimes? It is because the lack of maintenance means the train tracks cannot take the trains.

      They basically thieved from NZ Rail.

  3. Poission 3

    The transfer of both skilled jobs,and unskilled jobs is becoming more apparent in the difficulty of employers to find staff.One of the foremost issues is the 90 day rule,where employees are reluctant to change.

    Another issue is the inability of employers to provide enhanced on job education with transferable skills.

    The significant problem over the next 3 months will be a decreasing pool of available labour in other regions as CHCH moves into overdrive and the drift is evident now.


    Mobie identified truck drivers as a skill shortage in the SI as an emergent property ( there was an example of a Transport company offering sign on bonuses), very poor decision making to reduce rail development..

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      Also according to many unionists old fashioned fatigue (rather than the once trendy burnout) is becoming a real problem across industries and the public service. Staff numbers are cut but the work remains to be done and people are just shagged, but try and cling on to their job.

      KiwiRail tops don’t want to do the work anyway it would seem. What kind of country are we meant to be running here? When everything is sold off and only shit service jobs remain what is left–tax haven, US military base….

      • vto 3.1.1

        But Tiger Mountain don’t you know that is the way ahead?

        For example in the farming industry, selling the farms to foreigners and working as farm managers and labourers is a proven way to wealth apparently.

        Can you not see this?

        • Tiger Mountain

          Very droll vto. Not being a “1%er” I do not see this and refuse to, preferring organising and resistance.

    • SpaceMonkey 3.2

      I thought that link was a political poll at first… 🙂

    • Jokerman 3.3

      “they” cannot source or attract enough engineers to fabricate and maintain manufacturing in the province where i live, and are flogging the one’s they have.
      ( yes, i do flat with a local engineers union organiser if you are wondering)
      they call their H.R person “the knife”
      wotta waste of human control degrees, slashing people’s lives in the back!

      btw, to paraphrase a plinth where i was gardening today-“Work is for people that have not learned to garden yet”

      organic Everything. Thats the way to go, imo. 🙂

  4. burt 4

    Kiwirail has just announced 158 infrastructure and engineering job losses

    Makes you wonder why Labour paid twice the market valuation for a lemon… I guess they had to in a bid to make sure National had a hard 6 years so they (Labour) could get back to being a disaster for NZ working people by ruining the economy again implementing failed (but popular) policies like they always do.

    [The govt paid exactly market value for KiwiRail.. the price that the seller and buyer agreed upon. …RL]

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      They didn’t, they paid market value and it’s not a lemon although NACT are trying their best to portray it as such.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      National has vandalised a key part of the infrastructure NZ needs to survive the future, simply in order to serve its roading industry mates.

      Trust you to undermine democratic values by suggesting that common sense policies wanted by the people must be opposed by the who? The wealthy elite?

      Piss off shit for brains.

    • Poission 4.3

      National did not invest nor did private companies such as pike river,Solid energy invested heavily in the rail infrastructure,and the PR disaster left it with both less coal for the route,and requirements for additional strengthening from both Black swan events.

      This was both a mixture of adverse luck,and under capitalization of the SOE’S The inappropriate level of the “market return” as required by directors left Solid Energy insufficient capital.The so called losses at spring creek,are not operating losses but accounting losses.


      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        The so called losses at spring creek,are not operating losses but accounting losses.

        Yes. I’ve been encountering this kind of insanity quite a bit lately. Things are perfectly desirable from an engineering point of view are rejected by the bean counters with absolutely specious waffle about ‘opex’ and ‘capex’ and ‘depreciation schedules’ and all sorts of drivel that end up costing money.

        For instance. DoC are required to put a ‘value’ on their visitor assets, the tracks, bridges and huts. Then the govt charges them ‘depreciation’ that has to come out of their ‘opex’ (operations) budget. Then in some crazy money go-round the same money lands back in DoC’s ‘capex’ budget … which can only be spent on ‘new’ assets. Maintenance has to come out of opex.

        So each year as their asset base grows the depreciation charge grows, which means that existing tracks and huts get less and less maintenance. (Not to mention that the biodiversity protection work falls even further down the list of priorities.) At the same time they’ve got biggish lumps of cash to spend on ‘new’ assets that the local community doesn’t want or need. While at the same time DoC are demanding cash and volunteer time from the same community to maintain the older huts and tracks we really DO value.

        This is just one piffling little example of how accounting rules are driving decisions in completely perverse directions.

        • Poission

          There are two significant problems here,first the over complication of the SOP,which reduces decision making,and secondly the overweight role of BCA and MBA in running organisations with little understanding of flow dynamics or how things work.

          • Colonial Viper

            What you have a is bunch of shitty “managers” who don’t understand operations, value, or leadership, and instead spend their life steering by the numbers.

            And they also tend to get paid the most in this sociopathic society we’ve allowed.

            • RedLogix

              Yes. It’s the same story I keep hearing over and over. Our fascination with technology seems to have seduced too many of us into thinking that everything, including leadership, judgement and wisdom can be automated, ie reduced to rigid SOP’s.

              Paperwork and process substituting for experience and skills will always end badly.

            • Poission

              This is not a criticism of Don Elder in the SE case,he was constrained from above a board with a deep ideological agenda,this is the deep malignancy of the underlying pathology,and where they try to cure the symptoms and not the causal mechanism,hence it will reoccur with persistence.

              If accountants are the rule,and they are using accounting procedures in say NZ rails case to reduce spending in infrastructure and maintenance,then they should be accountable if in the unfortunate case of an accident that is attributable ie personally accountable such as the directors of the finance companies.

              That may be the ghost of Christmas to come an enhanced risk is always incentive in the decision making process.

              • Jokerman

                apparently it pays ” to believe six impossible things before breakfast”

              • RedLogix

                If you have the interest here is an excellent account of the Cave Creek disaster from a systemic failure perspective. Especially pertinent:

                “The old New Zealand Forest Service seems to have had a carefully structured system using appropriately skilled employees for designing and building quality structures. Those systems are no longer evident within the Department of Conservation and the appropriately skilled employees have either gone or are doing different jobs. I believe that the department was malformed at birth; no place for the necessary systems was ever provided.”

                Cave Creek had a deep impact on not just DoC, but the wider implementation of the 1992 Health and Safety Act across the entire public and private sectors. But as well-intentioned as the designers of the act were; the implementation of it is notoriously bureaucratic and clumsy. Yet despite all of the immense expense involved, twenty years of the the H&S regime has not really seen a major drop in serious harm incidents.

                Again paperwork attempting to substitute for skill.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Do you want to know how incompetent, corner cutting and badly led this country has become? To me, the opening night of the Rugby World Cup demonstrated it perfectly. Years of planning, hundreds of thousands of management hours, and god knows how many millions upon millions spent in preparation for the opening ceremony.

                  And this country could not even get people across town on time.

                  Absolutely mind numbingly, fucking useless at every single level.

                  God help us if we have to ever do anything of real importance, like say, rebuild a city after a major disaster.

                • Poission

                  Indeed the reduction of institutional memory and great tomes of Potemkin wallpaper undoubtedly constructed at great expense by legions of highly qualified consultatants

                  Haven’t they done well.


        • Jokerman

          Jesus Wept!

    • mike e 4.4

      burt 4.000 kms of tracks three ferries rolling stock and land less than the cost of one lane of motorway from Auckland harbour bridge to the airport!
      Typical lack of understanding of infrastructure from redneck bean brained bean counter!

    • mike e 4.5

      John Banks sold kiwi rail to Fayricwhite and Alan Gibbs who live in Switzerland where all corrupt people hide their ill gotten gains 1.2 billion dollars worth of tax payers investment handed to 3 people for a song that money could have been used to up grade Kiwirail with out us having to borrow to fix the run down asset!

  5. burt 5

    Bloody Labour and their Muldoon-esq policies of nationalising everything. It didn’t work for socialist Muldoon and it didn’t work for Labour – but just watch them gain popularity by promising the short memory sheeple they will do it all again.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      It didn’t work for Muldoon because he borrowed the money from offshore at interest and he also created bloody great loopholes in the tax base. Don’t do those things and the nationalising of large parts of the economy works. It’s privatisation that doesn’t as the GFC, the Great Depression and every single recession in between and before prove.

    • mike e 5.2

      Burt Especially if they think like ewe

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      What was wrong with 1980 Burt? You could raise a family and pay off a home with just a single full time income, and have a parent at home raising the kids too.

      • burt 5.3.1

        1984 – that is what was wrong with 1980 – it was unsustainable. Socialist la la land – the same boom and crash bullshit but you only remember the artificial boom created by failed interventionist ideology. You blind adherence to said ideology prohibits you from associating it’s implementation with it’s consequences. Grow up – stop being a child CV – that big scary “National party” monster is the counterbalance your failed ideology requires every 6-9 years. It’s always been that way with socialism, it always will !

        • Colonial Viper

          Hey dickhead if you want unsustainable just look at the crony capitalist economy created and run by the shadow bankers.

          BTW the reason 1984 happened in such a disastrous way was because of your dickhead neoliberal god Roger Douglas and his mates Prebble Moore etc

        • Draco T Bastard

          burt, reality and what actually happens under capitalism (over accumulation in too few hands, power shifting to those same few, corruption becoming endemic and over use of resources resulting in collapse) is against you. It doesn’t work, it never has done and never will do.

        • mike e

          45 farmers committed suicide in one year burt our national debt was only $1 billion in 1976 $16billion after think big and SMP’s after Rogernomics the economy the debt grew to $100 billion thats 100 times worse than Norman kirks debt 6 times worse than Muldoons now the debt is over $300 billion yeah burt neo liberal BS

  6. lefty 6

    Great work National – best we pay more people the dole rather than have productive work done by skilled workers.

    National has no intention of paying the people it throws out of work the dole. That’s why Bennett is doing her welfare ‘reforms’.

  7. Richard 7

    If your ideal government is going to dole out taxpayer money to save 500 uneconomic jobs, why these ones? Surely we can find 500 more worthy jobs to save. There must be some teachers, or university staff, or nurses somewhere to save instead.

    Why do railway infrastructure workers and miners get the free jobs?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Tax payer money is not “doled out” you fucking moron. Your use of the word “dole” deliberate and cruel, completely underestimates the ECONOMIC value of rail and energy infrastructure to NZ. As well as a pathetic and transparent attempt to turn workers against each other.

      The true UNECONOMIC work in NZ is done by the foreign banks and private monopolies.

      Tax their super-profits at 79% and give the masses of resulting money to teachers, university staff, nurses and yes, public railway infrastructure workers and miners.

      Fuck you and the neoliberal disloyal horse you rode in on.

      Your concept of “uneconomic” is any activity which doesn’t make profits for your capitalist money masters. Piss off.

      • Richard 7.1.1

        Zzzzzz, wake me up when the revolution comes, comrade.

        Until then, the question remains, how do we decide which worker’s jobs to arbitrarily save?

        It can’t be based on return on investment, since the return on investment for these jobs is, as shown by their being disestablished, negative.

        Social value? I fail to see how the excavation of planet-killing coal is socially valuable.

        Guess we’re in a bit of a pickle, then.

        • McFlock

          Typical tory bullshit. One-dimensional thinking that thinks short-term selfish gain greed is the same as a long term public good.
          What richard fails to comprehend is that the cards are almost certainly  stacked against him, just like the rest of us. Although the possibility that he’s a friedmanite 0.05%er would be a perfect demonstration that the unrestrained capitalism we face today is not a meritocracy, but a fuckwitocracy.

        • mike e

          Richard Cranium We should just retrain them all to become Con sultants at $1200 to $1800 an hour!

    • fatty 7.2

      Richard…can I call you Dick?

      “Why do railway infrastructure workers and miners get the free jobs?”

      If you’re gonna ask a question, can you please make it one that is answerable? Otherwise you look like a Richard.

    • mike e 7.3

      achually railways made $ 130 million in profit last year take away the fact that their has been no real investment in infrastructure for 40 years no new engines for sixty years . The fleecing of capital by John Banks and his mates Fay Richwhite ,Alan Gibbs and Wisconsin rail, Who asset stripped the company of equity built up by NZ taxpayers over 150 odd years.

    • Richard 7.4

      No one actually had a coherent answer I see. Unsurprising.

      The best one was the “130 million dollar profit”, which as far as I can see, was completely made up since Kiwirail actually made a profit of just 34 million last year, representing a terrible return on capital.

      • Colonial Viper 7.4.1

        You certainly don’t have a coherant criticism. Rail enables billions in trade and infrastructure. And it does this efficiently against a very highly subsidised road transport industry.

        representing a terrible return on capital.

        This narrow financialised measure does not even begin to capture the value of rail to this country.

      • mike e 7.4.2

        $123million in 2010
        $34 million in 2011 $100 million operating surplus -cost of govt grant. don’t forget Joyce’s forced depreciation value of land. Kiwi rail is expecting a 29% increase in profit this year !if we did the same calculations for road transport most trucking companies would not be profitable as their is no depreciation for the roads they drive on, then road transport is subsidized by car users and taxpayers!
        Then the Canterbury Earthquakes cut profits from the previous year and this year by 30 million plus pike river loss also affected Kiwirails performance not to mention the lack of investment for the last 40 odd years!

  8. Poission 8

    Gold miner announces 20 job losses today,which is an effect of the high dollar (being unable to capture the increased prices)

    Solid energy had a loss to earnings of 31million after hedging due to the FOREX.

    The arguments that a lower TWI will increase the inputs of NZ manufacturers and producers and decrease the wages of NZ workers is in effect voodoo economics.

    If we use the widely used example ( Joyce) of fuel increases that argument does not hold up with the pump price.As we are paying around the same as the 2008 peak price,when oil was fuel 30% higher and the NZ/US cross rate 7c lower ,someone is making windfall profits.

    The deflater portion of the revalued exchange rate is rarely fully imputed to the sale price,and hence consumers are subsidizing importers.

  9. Georgecom 9

    Bung $20 million to a foreign film company and change the law of the country – no problem.
    Change the law for a large corporate gambler – no problem

    Put in $36 million to keep skilled workers employed and keep a provincial town going – nah.

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