Why we love Dunedin Engineering! Make it a WIN!


###ODT Online Tue, 4 May 2010
KiwiRail says own workshops not up to tender
By Mark Price
Kiwirail has all but ruled out its own workshops, including Dunedin’s Hillside workshops, being given the chance to “have a crack” at tendering to build $375 million worth of passenger trains for Auckland. Chief executive Jim Quinn yesterday said the final decision would be made in the next few days, but KiwiRail was “unlikely to be a bidder”.
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### ODT Online Sat, 1 May 2010
Bid for $400m KiwiRail contracts nigh
By Dene Mackenzie
The campaign for Dunedin engineering firms to gain some of the nearly $400 million KiwiRail plans spending on new rolling stock begins in earnest on Monday with the release of an economic report. The report, prepared by forecasting agency Berl, has been commissioned by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, which represents workers at Hillside Workshops and the Dunedin City Council. KiwiRail plans to buy 38 three-car electric multiple units (114 cars) and 13 electric locomotives. The new rolling stock is likely to cost $375 million to produce in New Zealand.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie chairs a working party in Dunedin that has been quietly building support for KiwiRail to seriously consider building the EMUs and locomotives in New Zealand. The working party includes city MPs, trade union representatives, members of the DCC and the Otago Regional Council and representatives of Dunedin’s engineering industry.

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Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Inspiration, People, Politics, Project management

16 responses to “Why we love Dunedin Engineering! Make it a WIN!

  1. wirehunt

    Wasting your time, going by a Dave Davidson we haven’t got the skills or tradesmen in Dunedin to do any quality works……. http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/92810/columns-stadium-due-tomorrow …….

    And this sounds like a lot more brainier people would be needed, hell, if we can’t do a bit of old structural rubbish what chance is there of getting this right? ……

  2. Phil

    Oh, I think that Hillside will do ok. They don’t need the help of local councils to sell their trade. They have been flat out for about 10 years now with the refurbishment of the current Auckland rail stock. About 5 years ago they received an enquiry for the rail transit company in Sydney, to carry out the same work on their stock. Don’t know if anything ever came of that. They weren’t too concerned at the time, as their order books at the time were full for the coming 3 years.

    They were interested, around the same time, in looking at the potential for the manufacture of luxury cruise yachts. In cooperation with 2 other local engineering firms. That would have been exciting.

    Speaking with their senior management around the same time, I was surprised to learn that Hillside was one of only 3 facilities in the southern hemisphere capable of carrying out such specialised rail engineering work. Their nearest major competitor was in South Africa, which is where they were sourcing much of their skilled labour from.

    Walking around their factory floor a few times, I am still amazed that central government were so stupid as to deliberately try and run the place into the ground. All funding was shut off. One of the dumbest things they have ever done. The place is a gold mine. It’s packed with the ultimate in big boys toys, with their own foundry, a water bed plasma cutter, and carriages rotating on a welding spit. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the place, don’t pass it up.

  3. Richard

    “Oh, I think that Hillside will do ok. They don’t need the help of local councils to sell their trade.”

    With respect, Phil, that is not what the story in this morning’s ODT is saying though? It is obviously a massive project and requires the two workshops to work together to have any chance at all.

    The report brings back memories of when ‘certain people’ said we couldn’t build our own tugs.


    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 3 May 2010
      Dunedin bids to build railway stock
      By Mark Price
      Dunedin yesterday launched its bid to have a $375 million contract for Auckland’s new electric commuter trains awarded to railway workshops in Dunedin and Lower Hutt – creating as many as 1270 jobs. A Berl economics report commissioned by the Dunedin City Council and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union details the benefits of having Auckland’s 13 electric locomotives and 114 “cars” built in New Zealand.

      Berl suggested that if KiwiRail opted for the work to be done here it would:
      • Create between 770 and 1270 “additional full-time equivalent jobs over the construction period”.
      • Add between $232 million and $250 million to GDP.
      • Increase Crown revenue by a net $65 million to $70 million.
      • Benefit the trade balance by $114 million to $122 million.

      Read more

  4. wirehunt

    Bugger, my sarcasm didn’t show through.

    I realise Hillside is quiet capable of doing the job as I worked there myself years ago. I just don’t understand how rail wagons and loco’s can get built here, yet we don’t have enough skills etc to throw a few pipe beams together.

    It would have been a nice little fill-in between jobs and kept the money local. Sorry for going off topic, but it just sounds very fishy to me.

    I hope they do get it, and see no reason they wouldn’t do the job well.

  5. James

    Sadly, wirehunt, cynicism might be well placed:

    Transport Minister Steven Joyce, however, yesterday said he understood KiwiRail was not intending to enter a bid. It had never done anything similar before, and there were international companies with a lot of experience.

    “It would be a bit like saying we need a fleet of high-end cars, let’s go and get our mechanics to build them, instead of buying them off Audi or BMW, or somebody who does this sort of stuff for a living.”

  6. anon

    I suspect Joyce doesn’t want to pump money into Hillside because it creates an expectation of further significant rail investment downstream. If it’s outsourced the govt only has to do a one-off… then may be sell-off yet again. Plus the guy has an absolute fetish for roads and can’t get his head out of the so-called golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga.

  7. Phil

    My comment, Richard, was from Hillside’s point of view. As I recall it being. I don’t work for the ODT, so I can’t speak for their opinions. But I have worked closely with the Hillside management on a number of projects, and have listened to their views of their factory. They have been toiling along quietly in the background for years now working at full capacity. Without the need for support from local or central governments. They could certainly do the extra work, but I don’t know that they would need it. They were pretty comfortable with their forward workload, it suited the size of their workforce, and the size of their facilities. They turn out a high quality product without having to compromise on the grounds of overproduction.

    As for the stadium work. If I was in Hillside’s position, I would look at protecting my lucrative long term customers, instead of chasing a “one off” short term contract such as a stadium frame. Regardless of having the necessary skill and facility resources. And that might explain why they are not involved in the project. The same scenario played out at the Milton Prison when many subcontractors deliberately decided not to tender for the project work there, at the risk of losing their long term customers. Painting and mechanical services were two subtrades that I specifically remember struggled for resources as a result. One of the many reasons why there was such a massive cost blow out on that project.

    The urban rumour at the time of the Hillside sale was that the, then new, Australian owner only bought the rail system when he discovered it included a factory for building trains. The first thing he did was to pump money into the facility. With immediate payback. As I said, the ultimate in big boys’ toys.

    Hillside, I believe, has had a bit of a bad public face, due entirely to the picture painted by the government of the day who were hellbent on getting rid of it. Sounds a bit like this government has read the same book.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 3 May 2010
      Call for railcars to be built in NZ
      Labour and the Greens are throwing their weight behind a union campaign for KiwiRail to build Auckland’s new electric locomotives and railcars. A report released yesterday said the economy would be $250 million better off and more than 1200 jobs created if the work was done in New Zealand rather than in Asia or Europe.

      “New Zealand workers are more than capable of undertaking this build…Mr Joyce is not ambitious for a manufacturing industry based here in New Zealand.”
      -Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

      Read more


      ### nbr.co.nz Monday May 3, 2010 – 06:28am
      Report recommends building new trains in NZ
      Any international company would have to build Auckland’s new electric units and locomotives 62 percent cheaper than they can be produced in New Zealand to outweigh the benefits to the economy and jobs created by local manufacture, according to a report released today. However, KiwiRail was not even expected to tender a bid. Thirty-eight electric multiple units and 13 locomotives are needed to improve Auckland’s urban rail transport. The manufacturing contract was expected to be around $370 million. KiwiRail has workshops in Dunedin and Lower Hutt capable of building and maintaining the rolling stock.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online
        Comment by Max_Power on Look at the Aussies
        Time to look at what the Aussies do. This would be packaged as a stimulus package and awarded to a local company. The economy benefits, the government gets kudos and everyone is happy. The Australian government values local industries and people… does National?
        Read more

  8. wirehunt

    In fact thinking about this the irony is BEAUTIFUL. Central bubberment is going to do to NZ the exact same thing that DCC did to locals.

    The only problem is the fact that it has cost Dunedin near .5 billion……

    Phil on Hillside, they have enough room there to do both at once. I don’t know many workshops (read none) that would be as big. Also they owe some payback to other firms that have helped them out over the years.

  9. wirehunt

    Opps, typo, *exact.

    {fixed -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      ### 3news.co.nz Mon, 03 May 2010 5:43p.m.
      Govt rejects call to build KiwiRail trains in NZ
      By Rebecca Wright
      A new report is calling for electric trains for Auckland’s urban rail development to be built in New Zealand. The economic consultancy group Berl says it would create jobs and bolster the economy. But KiwiRail says overseas production is still the best option, and the Government agrees.
      Read more + Video

  10. Phil

    Not arguing for a moment that they couldn’t have carried out the work, wirehunt. They certainly have the expertise. My point was that they may have been so comfortable with their current workload that they didn’t see any need to go out looking for more work, such as the stadium frame. Why many people, myself included, tend to forget that they are there.

    I do take your point though that, knowing they could have done it, they maybe could have fought a little harder to enhance the local reputation. For such a high profile local project.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 5 May 2010
      Joyce ‘invited’ to Hillside workshops
      By Mark Price
      Transport Minister Steven Joyce was yesterday “invited” to visit KiwiRail’s Hillside workshops to find out for himself whether it is capable of building trains for Auckland. The invitation was extended by Labour’s Dunedin South MP Clare Curran after she was told in Parliament Mr Joyce had never been there.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Thu, 6 May 2010
        Christie defends Hillside report
        By Mark Price
        Chairman of the group wanting KiwiRail’s Hillside and Woburn workshops to build new trains for Auckland, John Christie, has defended the value of a Berl Economics report released by the group on Sunday and dismissed within hours by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

        “I think the city’s signalled that it is keen to co-operate as a city, a whole-of-city approach, to try to get what work it can, sensibly, from the tender and bid process, and we are still in that discussion and in that debate.”
        -John Christie, Otago Chamber of Commerce

        Read more

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