The Labour Party has committed to re-establishing the
Hillside workshops in Dunedin if it forms the next
The confirmation came after one of the Dunedin workers facing
redundancy addressed the Labour Party conference in Auckland
Originally from Australia, Stuart Johnstone, a mechanical
engineer and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union Hillside
branch chairman, moved to Dunedin about eight years ago and
has worked at Hillside for nearly four and a-half years.
He told the Otago Daily Times he was among the 90 workers
facing redundancy, and limited prospects in Dunedin meant he
and his young family were likely to move back to Australia.
"I'm on the list of people ... My wife and kids, we're
certainly going to have to re-evaluate where we live."
Mr Johnstone addressed the conference yesterday morning, as
did Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran, before "unanimous
support" was given to reversing the losses at Hillside under
a future Labour-led Government.
That included re-establishing a railway manufacturing
workshop at Hillside, and directing KiwiRail to provide
ongoing contracts to ensure rail vehicles were built in New
There would also be new directives to government departments,
state-owned entities and other agencies to consider New
Zealand-owned or New Zealand-based entities first, when
making procurement decisions, and new requirements for
state-owned entities to consider the social impact of any
decisions they were making.