Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins says he’s growing increasingly concerned about the impact job losses in the public sector are having on the local Hutt Valley community.
“The current government talk about cutting back the ‘bureaucracy’ but they seem to overlook the very real human impact their cuts are having on local residents. They’re real people with real families, real mortgages, and real bills to pay,” Chris Hipkins said.
“A big part of Wellington’s economy revolves around the public service. The National government is exacerbating the current economic downturn by slashing public service jobs at a time when many local businesses are already struggling to keep afloat.
“It’s not just government departments that are facing the axe either. Job losses at the Army Camp, the railway workshops, and Avalon TV studios are all taking their toll too,” Chris Hipkins said.
In the past few weeks it has been revealed that up to 60 jobs are at risk at Trentham due to the ‘civilianisation’ of the Army. Up to 20 job losses are likely at the railway workshops in Lower Hutt following Kiwirail’s decision to purchase new wagons overseas rather than build them locally. And up to 30 permanent and contract jobs will also be lost when TVNZ abandon’s the Avalon TV studios later in the year.
“The flow-on effect all of these job losses are having on our local community is immense. It means people have less money to spend in our local stores, have less money to engage local service providers, and have less money to put back into our community,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Take the closure of Avalon TV studios for example. There are several dozen people who work on the Good Morning TV show that will be out of work, but there will be a wider economic impact too. A lot of local businesses provide services to Avalon, from taxi drivers to couriers to caterers. They’re going to suffer as a result of Avalon’s closure too.
Mr Hipkins argues the National government is making the wrong decisions and should be taking a more pro-active stance towards protecting local jobs.
“We should be building the new trains and wagons that we need here in New Zealand. Not only will that help to protect local jobs, it will also provide a great opportunity for us to recruit and train the workforce of the future.
“We’re going to have a massive shortage of tradespeople in New Zealand in another decade or so, as the baby boomers retire. Building new trains at the local workshops and training more apprentices at the same time could help with that problem.
“When I’m out and about on people’s door steps each weekend they all want to know when things are going to start getting better. Unfortunately, the current government seems intent on inflicting a whole lot of pain for no real gain. Our local residents deserve better,” Chris Hipkins said.