Key's 'no manufacturing crisis' claim brings outrage

Prime Minister John Key had insulted the thousands of New Zealanders who had lost their jobs in manufacturing through comments he made in Dunedin this week, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said yesterday.

Ms Curran was particularly incensed by Mr Key visiting Dunedin's Farra Engineering and declaring there was "no crisis in manufacturing".

That had become a catch phrase of the Government, she said.

"Dunedin people should feel rightly insulted by Mr Key coming to our city and trying to pull the wool over their eyes on manufacturing.

"There have been 40,000 jobs lost in industry. Factories are shutting down. Whole communities are being hollowed out."

It was lucky Mr Key stopped his visit in Dunedin and did not travel further south where the future of meatworks and the Tiwai aluminium smelter were at the forefront of people's minds, Ms Curran said.

"He's got front, I will give him that. Turning up in Dunedin and telling us there is no crisis in manufacturing takes some front."

The Dunedin South MP believed Mr Key had deliberately targeted a visit to Dunedin so he and chief whip and Dunedin National Party list MP Michael Woodhouse could be seen as being onside with manufacturers.

The Government should have stepped in and supported the Hillside Workshops, now up for sale, Ms Curran said.

The Hillside Workshops should be building trains for this country rather than KiwiRail importing them from China, she said.

Ms Curran understood the Hillside foundry would be kept operating but there was debate about whether the new owner would be "buying" the current workforce.

"This is a dilemma for any organisation that purchases Hillside but it shouldn't be happening in the first place."

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