Confirmation none of the Government's $1.2 billion rail investment in Budget 2020 will include Hillside workshops has been labelled a "staggering act of hypocrisy" by Dunedin National list MP Michael Woodhouse.
Thursday's Budget included $400 million to replace the Interislander ferries and improve portside infrastructure, $246 m towards investment in track and supporting infrastructure, and $421m for new wagons and locomotives.
KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller yesterday said there were no plans for any work funded by Budget 2020 to be undertaken at Dunedin's Hillside workshops.
"As New Zealand does not have the capability to build locomotives, or ferries, they will have to be sourced overseas, and it's unlikely specialist landside infrastructure for the ferries, such as linkspans, which allow trains and vehicles to get on and off the ferries, could be built in New Zealand.
"The funding for making the rail network reliable and resilient is for work that will be undertaken on-site across the country.
"Hillside currently carries out refurbishment work, including converting 130 container freight wagons to carry forestry logs last year."
Miller said KiwiRail's plan was to turn Hillside into a heavy engineering facility for the South Island that could "be used, for example, to assemble rail wagons".
"This is what the redevelopment, beginning with the $20million Provincial Growth Investment, is aimed at."
Woodhouse was heavily critical of the decision.
"The revelation that, despite investing $410 million to purchase rolling stock in Budget 2020, none of that work will come to Hillside is a staggering act of hypocrisy by the Labour Government.
"Dunedinites were led to believe the $20 million Provincial Growth Fund investment so proudly announced by Clare Curran, Shane Jones and David Parker six months ago was so Hillside could respond to just such an investment.
"With job losses imminent and a commitment to apprenticeships, and given the Government's stated commitment, Dunedinites would see this as a massive opportunity."
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said KiwiRail's plan to turn Hillside into a heavy engineering facility for the South Island was "extremely important".
"This is what Hillside used to do, but it was run down and closed by the previous National government, with a fire sale of important engineering equipment."
She said she was "advocating strongly" for any new rail investment to include Hillside.
"I do, however, understand that the re-establishment can't be fully achieved overnight.
"I'm looking forward to more announcements that include Hillside in the coming months."