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Change of approach to government procurement needed

April 17, 2014

Change of approach to government procurement needed

The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today.

“Dunedin and Lower Hutt workers have felt totally kicked in the guts by National, who are happy to ‘pick winners’ in some sectors but abandon others,” said Wayne Butson, General Secretary, Rail and Maritime Transport Union.

“134 workers lost their jobs at Hillside Engineering in Dunedin, after National made it clear to KiwiRail that their approach to procurement had to be opting for the cheapest possible gear, whatever the cost to jobs and local economies.”

“Yet down the road in Bluff, National is happy to stump up cash for Rio Tinto, who this Tuesday was announced winner of the Roger Award for the worst transnational company operating in New Zealand.”

“And they are happy to change laws at a whim for movie bosses. Well, manufacturing may not get you invited to parties in Hollywood but it is a hugely important part of the New Zealand economy, and yet it has been left without any plan of action from government.”

“Hillside has been lost, and the future of Woburn Workshops in Lower Hutt is also reliant on a more proactive stance from government.”

“Rail workers’ expectations are simply that government should require departments to take a whole of life view on procurement.”

“We need to look no further than the recent asbestos scare in KiwiRail’s DL Lomotives for evidence of the problems associated with opting for cheaper, overseas built gear that is not up to our standards. KiwiRail will inevitably have whole-of-life cost blowouts if its shareholding Ministers continue to force it to take a short term procurement approach.”

“It is welcome news that Labour has a plan to strengthen procurement settings, and address issues facing other manufacturing sectors such as the impact of the high New Zealand dollar,” Wayne Butson said.

ENDS

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