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Future of Hillside must be secured

Labour Leader
Dunedin South MP
27 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Future of Hillside must be secured

The Hillside engineering workshops are a national asset and their future must be secured to protect skilled jobs and flow-on economic benefits to dozens of other businesses, Labour Leader David Shearer says.

“It’s time we got patriotic about our manufacturing industry. It is one of the pillars of our economy and it’s an area where we can shine in terms of innovation and building a clever, modern economy.

“It also keeps New Zealanders working here rather than heading across the Tasman looking for jobs and better opportunities.

“It’s a sector that this Government is ignoring and the sale of Hillside is a result of that.

“The Government should look first to local businesses rather than going offshore.

“We should factor in benefits like job creation, skills, and the quality of our products rather than just looking at the bottom line. Other countries - Australia, Singapore and the US - have procurement policies that recognise those wider benefits. We should be doing the same, not simply settling for the cheapest,” said David Shearer.

Mr Shearer and Dunedin South MP Clare Curran visited Hillside Workshop today where they spoke to workers about the impact outsourcing and subsequent sale of their workplace would have on them.

“Hillside is the backbone of Dunedin’s manufacturing industry and is an essential part of KiwiRail’s rail manufacturing and maintenance capability,” said Clare Curran.

“The company has created huge uncertainty around its future plans for Hillside. The revelation last week that that if a buyer cannot be found for Hillside then KiwiRail will close it is alarming.

What are KiwiRail’s intentions? Hillside needs certainty, so does Dunedin, and so does the rest of the country,” said Clare Curran.

© Scoop Media

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