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The Government's lack of support for local manufacturing is to blame for Kiwirail's decision to privatise its Hillside workshop, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
Mrs Tūrei has been part of a group of local manufacturers, union representatives, MPs, the chamber of commerce and the council seeking to keep Hillside running and in public hands.
"The privatisation of Hillside is a direct result of the Government's refusal to implement a smart procurement policy" said Mrs Tūrei
"A BERL report showed that having the new Kiwirail rolling stock for Auckland built at Hillside would have added $250m to the economy, reduced the current account deficit by $122m and created 1,270 jobs.
"Unfortunately, National insisted that Kiwirail only consider its narrow commercial interests and ignore the wider impacts of its decision.
"National's neglect led to rolling stock contracts, along with the profits and the jobs, going offshore.
"That has now led to Hillside's sale. 130 highly-skilled and well-paid jobs at Hillside - along many more at the dozens of associated local businesses - are at risk.
"If the Government had taken a more proactive approach, there would be plenty of work at Hillside and New Zealand would be a wealthier country.
"The Green Party believes we need to build a resilient economy with well-paying jobs. That includes the ability to manufacture goods locally, rather than rely on imports.
"I will continue to work with local groups and prospective buyers to save Hillside, and preserve what's left of New Zealand's high-tech heavy manufacturing capability" said Mrs Turei.
BERL report: Business case for building rolling stock in New Zealand