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Bill English didn’t ask Rio for a jobs guarantee

Clayton COSGROVE

SOE Spokesperson                       

9 August 2013     MEDIA STATEMENT

Bill English didn’t ask Rio for a jobs guarantee

Bill English never even bothered to ask Rio Tinto for a jobs guarantee and as the ink was drying on the $30 million cheque Rio was proposing to cut 30 jobs, showing this Government has been walked over yet again, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“On Tuesday when the deal was done Rio Tinto proposed to cut 30 jobs. So much for job security. This proves Government ministers are amateurs.

“Bill English claims this is all about protecting jobs. That’s a crock. There is no requirement for Rio Tinto to keep the jobs secure until 2017. That’s what $30 million of taxpayers’ money should get you.

“Bill English didn’t even have the smarts to ask for a jobs guarantee from Rio Tinto. How can you claim to want to protect jobs and not even raise the prospect of a jobs guarantee before handing over $30 million? He’s been totally walked over and proved yet again that he does not know how to negotiate a decent deal for the taxpayer.

“This was a $30 million blank cheque.

“Today it emerges that Rio Tinto may halve the smelter workforce from 800 to 400.

“The Government scrambled to get this deal done for one objective and one objective only – to put Meridian on the block. They tried to dress it up as protecting jobs and offering security for Southland. That spin has now been busted by Bill English’s own incompetence.

“Bill English’s ineptness continues – we know there is a high likelihood the smelter may close otherwise why would Rio Tinto negotiate a deal that halves their notice period?

“That being the case, the Government hasn’t even put together a package for a transitional plan to work with the people of Southland on regional economic development and prepare for a possible smelter closure.

“The people of Southland will be very concerned. We know one worker has already said he’s heading to Australia. You can bet he will be followed by others,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ENDS

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