Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


City Voice: After the car industry

ON and off for 20 years, Mike Patelesio worked for Mitsubishi Motors in Porirua.

"I started there when I was a young boy," he says. He did other jobs at times, but always went back to Mitsubishi - the last time for 12 years, eventually leading a group that refurbished all the second-hand cars that came to the plant.

Last year the plant closed, a victim of the National GovernmentÕs decision to scrap the remaining import duties on cars. Patelesio was one of 266 people made redundant.

He's one of the lucky ones. Within two weeks, he got a short-term contract job at Deltec Telesystems in Tawa, making parts for cellphone transmitters. After two months, Deltec gave him a permanent job.

He's earning less - only $11 an hour on the assembly line, after a recent pay rise, compared with $17 as a group leader at Mitsubishi. But he says, "The job's easier, I'm not complaining."

While the car industry has disappeared, high-tech companies like Deltec are thriving. Deltec exports 90% of its output, employs 65 permanent staff and currently has 50 extras on short-term contract to handle big orders from Taiwan and China.

"The automotive industry was an artificial industry in NZ, and we operate entirely without subsidy and compete with a lot of very big competitors," says Deltec chief executive Jim Donovan.

He says the company is here because "a couple of New Zealanders who used to work for the Post Office in the old days decided to set up a business on their own making telecommunications equipment, and it grew from there".

Deltec is now looking at setting up branch factories in countries where it has to pay high duties on imports from NZ. But Donovan says the Tawa plant will also grow, because of the need to keep a close interaction between the people who design Deltec's products and an on-site manufacturing operation.

Jim Wallace of the Porirua Business Development Society, which ran a resource centre for the redundant Mitsubishi workers, says that by the end of last year 76% had found jobs.

Seven are now at Deltec, including two on short-term contract. Others have gone to Rexel Electrical (formerly GEC), and to two companies which chose to centralise their NZ manufacturing in Porirua, Pacific Wallcoverings and Sealed Air Packaging.

Former union delegate Andrew Siaosi is one of "quite a few" at the Taylor Preston meatworks in Ngauranga Gorge. He's earning $10.30 an hour, down from $15 at Mitsubishi, and works from 4.15pm until 2.15am four nights out of six.

Rima Mataa, who'd been with Mitsubishi and its predecessor Todd Motors for 30 years, now earns about as much as he used to get from one job by working two days a week at a shoe warehouse, two nights a week as a caregiver, and teaching a Cook Islands language class at Porirua College.

But Robert Paton, of Newtown, is still out of work. He'd also been in the car industry for 30 years since starting at General Motors in 1968, but in the last 18 months has had only one short-term job.

"It's been pretty hard for me," he says. "I have good days and bad days." He's filled in time by covering his wall with photos of Princess Diana and the World Wrestling Federation, gardening, and "I just do a lot of walking - to get my mind off it."

- ATTEND THE City Voice/Scoop Employment election forum, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Thu 28 Oct, 7.30pm.

- first published City Voice Newspaper - republished with permission.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news