Labour promise of reopening Hillside

The Labour Party has committed to re-establishing the Hillside workshops in Dunedin if it forms the next Government.

The confirmation came after one of the Dunedin workers facing redundancy addressed the Labour Party conference in Auckland yesterday.

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 Zealand.

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.

-chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Hillside

Trev: In case you haven't heard, the Chinese put satellites into space, build jet aircraft and are now to build Range Rovers. We are unbelievably arrogant about how competitive we are in these matters and kid ourselves that the Chinese can't weld or manage a farm. Hillside was, at best, a retirement home for an ageing workforce.

Hillside's capabilities

It seems EcoMac has absolutely no idea of the engineering capabilities of Hillside. There is no recognition of the amount of high quality remedial work done at Hillside to fix poor quality construction in Chinese-made wagons. No idea of the engineering techniques used at Hillside that meet international standards and have done for many years. No mention of the high quality construction and refurbishement of rail rolling stock in use in NZ. No mention of the dedication of Hillside employees to do a good job.
Get yourself a tour of Hillside before it closes due to National Government policies and your eyes might be opened. [Abridged]  

Hillside Workshops

Ms Curran and her Caucus friends are dancing with the dinasours. Hillside has had its day and the demand for the skills of its workforce has diminished with the use of alternative transport, other skills, better technology and pure productivity. It is misleading to say these jobs are critical to the future of the country and Dunedin because they are not. Yes it is sad and people will lose jobs but they have had 30 years prewarning. There are new skills available that are two or three generations ahead of anything Hillside has to offer. We are not here to subsidise the last bastion of 1926 politics and the EPMU.

Ms Curran I am in your electorate. How about listening to the future instead of trying to conserve the long dead past.

Costly promise

Keeping this promise is going to cost the NZ public hundreds of millions. Will taxes being going up to cover it or will you just take from Peter to give to Paul?
In all honesty I'm betting Labour made the promise without even investigating the dollar value or true cost.

Usual vote buying

Labour is now planning to mess with the market. All that ever does is introduce unintended consequences that are worse than the existing problems. 

Labour also plans to build houses for first home buyers at $300,000! That's not a first home price if the intention is to bring prices down. They should use economies of scale and build them closer to the $200,000 mark, if at all. 

Let's not return to tax and spend while this country is still in debt.

Labou'rs directives

Me thinks that the NZ Govt of the day cannot by law interfere/direct SOE's to do anything at all. Are Labour going to break this
law?

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