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Govt Cannot Absolve Themselves Of Hillside Responsibilty

Media release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union
Thursday December 6, 2012

Government Cannot Absolve Themselves Of Hillside Responsibility

Comments this week from Prime Minister John Key that they did their best to stop job losses at Hillside don’t wash, the Rail & Maritime Transport Union said today.

John Key was yesterday questioned in Parliament over his comments this week that the government pushed back ‘reasonably strongly’ when informed by KiwiRail’s board of the intention to close Hillside

But RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson said the government had plenty of opportunity to act prior to the recent Hillside closure decision.

“KiwiRail’s decision to not bid for either the $500 million contract for Auckland’s new trains, or for 500 flat top wagons has directly contributed to the closure of Hillside,” he said.

“KiwiRail needed a stronger steer from their shareholder to take a whole-of-life view of procurement. Dunedin workers, business leaders, the city council and others all saw that the decision to not bid for this work represented a very short-sighted view of procurement.”

“Value is not just upfront costs. It is also about ongoing repairs and maintenance work and the primary and secondary jobs that are created and industries supported when goods are manufactured locally.”

“Procurement was raised as a top 20 issue at the John Key’s Job Summit in 2009. But nothing good has come of it.

“Instead of using their significant purchasing power to support Kiwi jobs, the government put out new principles for procurement in September where the solitary reference to domestic firms was that they have a fair opportunity to compete. This is a complete let down to local industry and workers.”

The jobs at Hillside needn’t have been lost. But they were, on John Key’s watch, and he and his Transport Ministers cannot wash their hands of responsibility,” Wayne Butson said.



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