The Alliance Party says today's announcement of 41 job losses at Dunedin's Hillside Workshops is the result of a "great betrayal" of New Zealand by John Key and his National Government.
Alliance Party spokesperson Trevor Hanson says the announcement of 41 job losses at Hillside was the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister and his policies.
"John Key is responsible. Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce is responsible. Dunedin National List MP Michael Woodhouse is responsible. KiwiRail management are responsible."
The outsourcing of rolling stock construction overseas when New Zealand workshops could do the job was a travesty, but it was the inevitable result of free trade policies pursued by successive National and Labour Governments, says Mr Hanson.
"They have betrayed New Zealand workers and our communities by their failed free trade policies which have jeopardized the livelihoods of workers, their family members and New Zealand itself."
Mr Hanson says KiwiRail is owned by the people of New Zealand and should be operated in their interests.
He says while it seemed some local politicians were concentrating on the colour of rugby jerseys, the Dunedin and wider New Zealand economy was being ripped apart.
"The loss of these skilled jobs is a massive blow to New Zealand. Unless we build these wagons in New Zealand, we will soon see more and more New Zealanders join the welfare queues."
"Our people want to work, they have the skills, they spend their wages in our communities, they live and raise families in our communities. They have been betrayed by an irresponsible National Government and a Prime Minister who has no commitment to New Zealand workers."
Mr Hanson says the money "saved" by using cheap and exploited overseas labour to build KiwiRail wagons would be spent on unemployment benefits, the social fallout from stress and insecurity, and a further shrinking of the already struggling South Dunedin economy.
"We now need a community campaign on the streets, demanding that Kiwi wagons be built by Kiwi workers."
He says the Alliance is committed to local jobs and local industry, and is opposed to the free trade policies of National and Labour.