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Hillside closure a tragedy for Dunedin and workers

20 December 2012

Hillside closure a tragedy for Dunedin and workers

The closure of most of the Hillside workshops is a tragedy for Dunedin and local manufacturing, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

Ninety workers will lose their jobs on Friday as most of the Hillside workshops closes down. Hillside’s foundry has been sold to a private engineering firm who will retain 18 jobs. Mrs Turei has been part of a group of local manufacturers, union representatives, MPs, the chamber of commerce and the Council seeking to keep Hillside running and in public hands.

“The closure of Hillside is a direct result of the Government’s failure to look at the benefits to our local economy of manufacturing and the jobs provided by local industry,” said Mrs Turei.

“The management of Kiwirail, with the backing of the Government, decided not to bid for contracts that could have provided jobs for the skilled workers at Hillside.

“This decision was made despite a 2010 BERL report that showed that having rolling stock for Auckland built at Hillside would have added $250m to the economy, reduced the current account deficit and created jobs.

“The current Government considers that it is more important to sign up to World Trade Organisation procurement treaties than protect New Zealand manufacturing and industry.

“The Green Party disagrees with the National Government’s approach and considers that a strong economy needs to protect highly skilled manufacturing jobs such as those now lost at Hillside,” said Mrs Turei.

“Rather than wasting billions of dollars and increasing taxes to pay for unneeded motorways, New Zealand should be leading the way in creating transport solutions that future-proof our economy such as rail.”

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