What To Do About Te Kuha?

The new Labour / New Zealand First / Greens government will be tested by the Buller District Council’s decision to grant resource consent to Stevenson mining to establish the Te Kuha mine, a 109 hectare coal mine not far from Westport. The mine will traverse public conservation land and land managed by the Buller District council.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described climate change as her generation’s nuclear-free moment. It is a great soundbite, but if the new government is serious about climate change they have no choice but to overrule the Buller Council’s decision. We have to give up fossil fuels. The coal needs to stay in the ground. Continue reading

Please Don’t Appeal the Employment Court’s Aged Care Worker Gender Pay Decision

There is no excuse for the appalling wages paid to workers in the aged care and disability sectors. It is blatant discrimination against the – mainly – women who do the work and the people they work with; the elderly and people with disabilities.

At the very least care workers deserve to receive the living wage of $18.40 per hour. But in the long term they should receive a wage commensurate with more male dominated sectors requiring similar skills such as justice and mental health. Continue reading

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.

New trains should be built in New Zealand workshops

Kiwirail should produce the new electric trains promised to Auckland in New Zealand workshops.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says international tendering cannot be justified when Kiwirail’s own workshops could do the work.

Kiwirail’s Lower Hutt workshop in Wellington and Hillside workshop in South Dunedin both have the skills and the capacity to build the trains, she says.

“There is a responsibility for the Government to ensure that this work is carried out by New Zealand industry,” says Ms Murray, who stood for the Alliance in the Dunedin South electorate in 2008.

She says in South Dunedin, Hillside was a major employer, and the development of skills and infrastructure through doing this work would provide a major boost for the local economy and employment.

“The new trains are being paid for by New Zealand taxpayers. The Government has a duty to ensure that if at all possible the work stays in New Zealand and is used to provide jobs for New Zealanders both in the workshops and the wider community where the workers wages will be spent.”

Ms Murray says this is especially important when we are still in an economic recession with tens of thousands of New Zealanders out of work.

She says it is important New Zealand has the ability to carry out industrial and manufacturing work of this kind to build an advanced, modern economy with high waged and skilled jobs.

Cadbury's job losses indicate a failing system

Alliance Party Dunedin North candidate and trade spokeperson Victor Billot says the loss of around 145 jobs at Cadbury’s in Dunedin was an indicator of the serious problems faced by working people in New Zealand.

“We are seeing a slow motion disaster for working people as secure jobs evaporate in Dunedin and throughout the nation as major players like Fisher and Paykel and Cadbury shut down plant and lay off the workforce.”

He says Dunedin can’t take continual hits like this, and workers needed support, but were unlikely to get it from the current Government or a National Party whose answer to unemployment was to attack the unemployed. Continue reading