Union: Unemployed Could Build Trains


Rail workers today continued their campaign to get Auckland’s new electric trains built in Dunedin - by quoting unemployment figures out this afternoon.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union says today’s big spike in unemployment in the Otago region, bucking the trend nationally, demonstrates the need to support rail industry jobs like those at Hillside workshop in Dunedin.

Otago was one of the only regions, alongside Northland, Bay of Plenty and Tasman/Nelson/West Coast, to register an increase in unemployment in today’s Household Labour Force Survey.

Otago unemployment has risen from 2.7 per cent in the March 2008 quarter and 4.4 per cent in the March 2009 quarter, to 6.3 per cent in the March 2010.

“Hillside workshop is a major employer in Dunedin,” Wayne Butson, General Secretary of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union said.

“This is the time to be backing Hillside, not walking away from it, as we have seen from the government’s response this week to the BERL report on building rolling stock for Auckland.”

“We have the expertise and equipment in our rail workshops in Dunedin and Lower Hutt and we have workers who are ready and keen to do this work.”

“We want KiwiRail and the government to back Kiwi workers, back the Dunedin and Lower Hutt economies, and get our trains built at home,” Wayne Butson said. This week’s BERL report estimated that building trains needed for Auckland electrification in New Zealand would add between 770 to 1270 additional jobs and $232 to $250 million to GDP.




  1. ingolfson says:

    This case goes against my usual tendencies - but I can’t support the use of such emotive arguments when the item is so crucial. I feel this would be too much “think big” for Auckland, but not enough “think big” for New Zealand.

    If this government was committed to rail, then yes. If there was no doubt that even with some delays that would be had as Hillside gears up to something they haven’t done before, yes. If government would be committed to then, after that job is done, to build even more trains in New Zealand for New Zealand (i.e. ensure that demand doesn’t drop off again immediately after this lot is built) then yes.

    But as it is, any major issues with the contract could backfire badly for Auckland’s transport system.

  2. Carl says:

    Guys, i don’t much about trains and how they are built, but ffs, if we are still talking who is going to build them now, there is no chance they are going to built in 2 years time.

    My view is, if it can be built here, what does matter how much it may cost, bring someone over to train people, or better yet, bring a few people over to supervise and build alongside us.

    I’ve never understood why NZ or Stralia for that matter can’t get there arses into gear and have a crack at this.

    man we can almost do everything else in the world better than most people, but making a simple plan…. we are about 10 years behind australia.

    auckland is still trying to sort rail, Perth is pushing with the idea of light rail, for a population of just under 2 million ( thats the whole state btw, the cit of perth has just over a 1 million people) they are pushing it along with rail.

    come on nz make it happen, so when i come home, its working!

  3. Jeremy Harris says:

    I’m pretty sure Australia does make trains, Bombardier is there from memory…

    I’ve never seen a light rail plan for Perth currently, they are expanding heavy rail, with a reopened line, a CBD tunnel, two new lines and a spur, with further plans for an airport spur…

  4. Carl says:

    Jeremy, I live here, its crazy times i tell ya, rail here is awesome, fully intergrated with the bus system,

    http://www.transperth.com.au check it out.

    light rail study has just recently been finished and there was a feature on a local tv station the other night. Its being talked further in local and state council, be epic if it goes a head.

    CBD tunnel was built 2 years ago, new line was finished 2 years ago. at present only the light rail, and the airport spur is up for talk.

    an extension of a already overcrowded line is getting started next year.

    One thing about WA, they don’t fu*k around like auckland when it needs to be built, it gets built.

    there are so many people using the trains these days, that they have already extended them to 1:30 am all lines on friday nights, and 2:30am all lines saturday nights.

    other week days its till 12 midnight and sunday till 11:30.

    its amazing what you try stuff, how well the public warms to it.

    I think Auckland needs to take a leaf out of Perth’s book. we have had real time updates on the internet and all unmanned stations here for about 2 years now.

  5. Jeremy Harris says:

    I’m seriously considering a move to Perth, great city…


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