Rail decision an indictment on Government

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.

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.