The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the decision by KiwiRail to offshore production of rail wagons is an indictment on the National Government and KiwiRail management.
KiwiRail has announced a $29 million tender for 300 rail wagons has gone to China CNR Corporation.
Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says maritime workers had supported the campaign by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) to build New Zealand rolling stock in New Zealand workshops.
He says the idea that the move to offshore production would “save money” was idiotic.
“Any money saved by the public enterprise KiwiRail going for the cheap labour option in China will be required to pay for unemployment benefits, for our increased overseas debt, and for the loss of taxes and loss of spin off benefits for the local economy in New Zealand.”
“This decision will lead to loss of job opportunities, and is another blow to New Zealand’s ability to undertake high skill industrial production.”
Mr Fleetwood says that the Government bears responsibility and should front up to affected workers and communities.
“They change laws to suit Hollywood movie moguls and sink vast amounts of money into trendy sectors, but will not back New Zealand workers and the future of New Zealand industry.”
Mr Fleetwood says the message is clear for workers.
“The John Key Government is prepared to wind down New Zealand’s infrastructure and industrial capability in vital areas. There is no leadership in shipping or ports, and now no leadership in rail.”
“They call themselves a National Government, but they are governing in the interests of overseas business, not New Zealand’s national interest.”
Mr Fleetwood says that New Zealand’s entrapment in free trade agreements would further limit our ability for local industry and reduce New Zealand to an economic colony.