Today's letter: Jobs for Kiwis first

I'm ashamed to be a Kiwi when KiwiRail is planning the closing down of Hillside workshops, the home of a very highly skilled ISO 9000 workforce.

Hillside was, and still is, a very capable Kiwi icon whose personnel have built steam locomotives and wagons etc for more than 137 years.

We need to stand up and stop this closure now.

KiwiRail has work for Hillside for at least the next 10 years as it still needs 3000 new container wagons. But this Government would sooner employ Chinese workers at a lesser wage.

They say Hillside isn't capable of carrying out the work, well KiwiRail's website states that these 3000 wagons will be delivered over 10 years, that's 300 per year or 7.5 wagons per week over 40 weeks. Not hard to do as KiwiRail designed them, then built 35 to trial, before putting them out to tender.

Hillside was one of the top three prices for the first 500 which were built in China with faults. Did the 35 from Hillside have problems?

Is the Chinese manufacture ISO 9000 accredited, the same as Hillside, or are we getting cheap, poorly built wagons and locomotives?

I have read several reports from Clare Curran of Dunedin, who states that the Chinese-made locomotives, as well as the wagons, have major faults.

It's time for a change at KiwiRail - give the jobs to Kiwis and put $375 million back into the New Zealand's economy over 10 years, employing and training young engineering apprentices.

We demand a brighter future for Kiwis so, come on John Key, get cracking with Kiwi Made or start looking for a new job yourself. Eric Roy needs to start looking at himself also.

Kiwis need real jobs, not cheap Chinese imports.

The Southland Times