National List MP in Dunedin Michael Woodhouse today described KiwiRail’s announcement of the decision to sell Hillside as a potentially very positive development for the struggling engineering workshop.
“KiwiRail have been challenged for months to make a decision about Hillside and now they have done so,” says Mr Woodhouse.
“From the beginning, it has been clear that any decisions regarding the future of Hillside would be commercial decisions, not political ones.
“While I believe there are positive impacts for Dunedin that could come from the sale of Hillside, this decision was made solely by KiwiRail with no involvement or influence by the Government.
“The sale of Hillside is a great opportunity for owners with more commercial engineering experience and a wider customer base.
“New opportunities exist nationally and internationally for a new owner to grow the business beyond just rail needs.
“Hillside’s capabilities involve heavy engineering work, so it makes sense that a specialist engineering business take the site over and widen the scope and manufacturing ability of the complex.
“This decision is by no mean the demise of Hillside. But the sale and future success of Hillside will largely depend on the reactions of the unions and Dunedin residents and the support they choose to give to potential new owners.”
KiwiRail has committed to continuing to allocate heavy maintenance rail work to the new owners.