We now resume your scheduled service with a short note lauding KiwiRail's decision to go with China CNR for provision of new rolling stock. The NZ bid wasn't competitive.
CNR built 100 wagons which went into service in late 2008, and was building KiwiRail's 20 new diesel electric locomotives.Recall that the benefits number cited above was produced by BERL, an consultancy firm that is very good at producing numbers large enough to satisfy client demand.
The union representing rail workers said KiwiRail's decision risked sending skilled trades people overseas.
"Of course New Zealand workers will never be able to compete on cost with China but our quality of work is second to none," Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson said.
"Rail workers who negotiate in good faith for their terms and conditions at KiwiRail are now effectively being told that their wages are the main barrier to New Zealand getting its own rail manufacturing work."
In May, KiwiRail decided it would not bid to build $500m worth of new electric trains for Auckland, a project that was estimated would have created up 1270 jobs and added up to $250m to gross domestic product.
"What needs to change is KiwiRail's tendering rules, and this change needs to come from Parliament, to make it clear for crown entities like KiwiRail that buying local must always be the first option where possible," Mr Butson said.
I'd put no more than a ten percent chance that Key caves and puts local purchase requirements on state-owned enterprises -- unless Sir Roger puts up a private member's bill affirming that the Government will not interfere in SOE buying decisions. In that case, Key's chances of doing something stupid increase by rather a lot.