Alliance backs campaign for local rail manufacture

The Alliance is backing a campaign by rail workers to have KiwiRail’s new locomotives and wagons built in New Zealand.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) is using an open day at Hutt Rail workshops today Sunday 28 February 2010, from 11am until 4pm, to urge KiwiRail to manufacture its new locomotives and wagons locally.

Alliance Party transport spokesperson Trevor Hanson says the Prime Minister John Key should forget about “party central” on the Auckland waterfront and pay some attention to New Zealand’s ability to provide jobs and keep its industry.

He says there is concern that New Zealand’s entrapment in free trade deals could threaten our ability to specify local production in cases like this.

Mr Hanson says New Zealand has the capability to build the heavy machinery and it was important that this capability be used.

“There are a number of benefits, including job creation at a time of high unemployment, putting money into the New Zealand economy, and promoting our engineering and manufacturing skill base.”

Mr Hanson challenged KiwiRail management, the National Government and the Labour Party to commit to supporting New Zealand industry and New Zealand workers by supporting local manufacture of locomotives and wagons.

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