Labour's policies would be damaging for Dunedin's economy
and its plan to revive Hillside Workshops shows it is out of
date, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.
In contrast, Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) hailed
the plan to revive Hillside as bringing hope to former
workers yet to find skilled work since losing their jobs in
Dunedin list MP and former chief executive of Dunedin's Mercy
Hospital Michael Woodhouse, was also scathing of Labour's
promise to fast-track the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, calling
Mr Joyce said the claim National had neglected the city, made
by Labour leader David Cunliffe yesterday, was false and, in
fact, its ''policy mix'' had resulted in 23,000 extra jobs
for the Otago region in the last five years.
That equated to an average of 4600 jobs a year, which was
more than the 3000 Mr Cunliffe had promised for its entire
''On the one hand, I understand Mr Cunliffe's lack of
ambition. A Labour-Greens government with at least four big
extra taxes and large amounts of extra spending and the high
interest rates that go with it would be a massive drag on the
Otago economy,'' Mr Joyce said.
Reviving Hillside was ''unrealistic'' and the ''world has
moved on from those days'' when it was at full strength.
''The Hillside Workshops were from another period and
actually, time has changed. Investment has grown in other
Companies in other sectors, such as ADInstruments and
Language Perfect, were growing ''their businesses flat out'',
''I think ... Mr Cunliffe is once again just trying to say
things that people want to hear and I understand that, given
where he is in the polls.''
RMTU South Island organiser John Kerr, who was in Dunedin for
yesterday's announcement, said it was ''completely behind''
the plan to revive Hillside.
The news would be especially welcome for workers who had
found only low-skilled work since losing their jobs in 2012.
''I think they will be delighted by this. It will have given
them something very precious and that's hope,'' he said.
Despite the fact some of the about 90 workers who lost their
jobs in 2012 had left Dunedin, he believed there was a still
a good enough ''skills base'' to work for revived Hillside.
''We are optimistic that this can work.''
He disagreed with National's claim reviving Hillside was
''I think that all that has happened in the free market under
National is that workers and ordinary New Zealanders have
become worse off.''
Mr Woodhouse said the claim the Government had neglected
Dunedin Hospital was ''complete nonsense'', as during its two
terms it had upgraded the emergency department, intensive
care unit and psychiatric ward and ''completely rebuilt'' the
''If there was any neglect it was by the [last] Labour
government, who, in the best of times, never did a thing for
Dunedin Hospital to fix up some fundamental issues.''
National had committed to Dunedin Hospital being the ''top of
the list for an upgrade'' and, unlike Labour, it was waiting
until it had the proper information before releasing a
''I've run hospitals. I know how hard it is to master-plan
for a new facility and I don't believe it's appropriate for
anyone ... to make bold but irresponsible claims about
''We wouldn't be so arrogant to put such a time-frame on it
until we had better information.''