Today at the National Party conference, Steven Joyce spun the line that his Party was all about jobs and the Opposition was about fairytales.
His own intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking. Neither he, nor any member of his government have ever been able to articulate the source of the Kiwi jobs of the future other than in vague unsubstantiated terms.
His government has instead made countless decisions which have cut skilled Kiwi jobs and resulted in the flight overseas of thousands of New Zealanders who should have been plotting their futures in our country not elsewhere.
Perhaps one of the worst things this government has done to demonstrate its disregard for Kiwi jobs, Kiwi skills and Kiwi industry is to use the purchasing power of government to buy trains built in China which do not meet New Zealand standards.In doing this they are responsible for destroying essential skills and ensured that a whole industry has been cut off at the knees.
A country that deliberately destroys manufacturing capability is not a smart country.
Yesterday, Radio NZ revealed that the brakes on all 500 Chinese-built freight wagons ordered by KiwiRail had to be replaced before they could hit the tracks last year.
Initial tests found that when the wagons were fully loaded to 72 tonnes, the wagons did not stop within the required 650 metres.
The wagons have been in New Zealand for less than a year and have been plagued with problems. Kiwirail pretends it’s no big deal and the government says it’s an operational issue and nothing to do with them. They have backed Kiwirail all the way in its outsourcing decisions. At some point they will become accountable.
As a result, the Hillside Rail workshops in Dunedin, which made the original wagons in the 1950s, has been gutted, skilled workers made redundant and now the workshops are up for sale in a deal which Kiwirail shows little enthusiasm for.
False economy is a kind way of describing the harebrained decision to buy cut price substandard wagons shipped across the world, which require serious faults to be fixed and parts replaced before they can even be put on the tracks. It’s my understanding that some of the wagons are already demonstrating more serious faults.
How long will it be before there is a serious derailment involving these wagons? Who will be held accountable then?
Gordon Campbell wrote sensibly about this issue yesterday.
Steven Joyce, meanwhile, speaks with a forked tongue.