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.