The Alliance Party says KiwiRail CEO Jim Quinn and the silent Minister of Transport Steven Joyce may not think New Zealand can handle such a large engineering contract as the building of Auckland’s new electric trains – but New Zealand workers are absolutely certain that they can do the job.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says a rally of rail engineering workers in Dunedin this week showed that the skills, motivation and community support were there.
All that is lacking is corporate leadership and political leadership from a National Government.
National has failed the tens of thousands of workers who have lost jobs since John Key came to office, and are now effectively forcing hundreds of millions of dollars of rail engineering contracts out of the country.
The Alliance is urging New Zealanders to support the Rail and Maritime Transport Union campaign to build rolling stock in New Zealand which has attracted widespread support in the community (http://www.rmtunion.org.nz/articles/article-building-rolling-stock-in-nz.php)
“It is not acceptable to send $500 million of taxpayers money out of the country when jobs are needed and communities are struggling. It is not acceptable to deny New Zealanders work and all the flow on effects keeping Kiwis in work would bring.”
Over 1700 workers recently applied for 170 jobs at a new Bunnings store in Dunedin, indicating the seriousness of the unemployment crisis affecting many regions of New Zealand – a crisis that the Government will not even acknowledge.
Ms Murray says the $500 million contract has turned into a debacle with local workers denied the opportunity to use their skills.
Phase Two “Expressions of Interest” closes at the end of this week, but KiwiRail’s own workshops Hillside and Hutt Valley are forbidden to participate.
The people of New Zealand own KiwiRail and we must insist that our public rail system must not give public money to overseas corporations when we can do the job ourselves.
The Alliance says the chickens are coming home to roost as successive Government’s have gambled and lost on free trade dogma that has undermined our industry.
The Alliance Party has denounced the decision of Kiwirail management not to bid for the contract to build Auckland’s new electric trains.
Alliance Party transport spokesperson Trevor Hanson says New Zealanders must resist a National Government that is “pulling New Zealand down.”
Mr Hanson says the work should be done in New Zealand.
He says at a time when New Zealanders are suffering from the highest unemployment in many years, the responsibility was on Transport Minister Steven Joyce and the National Government to take action.
“National is stealing jobs from New Zealanders as they have the ability to turn this incredibly bad decision around – if they wanted to.”
“The current National Government and Kiwirail senior management have let New Zealand down badly.”
Mr Hanson says unless the decision is reversed, it will result in higher unemployment, worsen New Zealand’s balance of payments, and reduce our ability to manufacture advanced industrial products.
He says high quality studies have shown the potential benefits of building the new electric trains locally.