PM accidentially tells staff their factory is moving towns

A very bad case of foot in mouth:

Staff at a Canterbury manufacturer should have been finding out from their bosses their jobs were moving to a new town, but Prime Minister inadvertently filled them in.

Designline, an bus designer and producer, announced in a public statement yesterday that it was shifting its operation about 60km up State Highway One to Rolleston, near Christchurch.

The company bosses had been keeping the decision close to their chests. But during a visit to their premises on Friday, Helen Clark let the cat out of the bag when she made a casual remark about Designline’s “plans for the future” and “relocation”.

This surprised many, including an unimpressed Ashburton Mayor Bede O’Malley and a union representing workers at the company.

My spies in Ashburton (who kept me well informed during the Selwyn selection) told me of this around an hour after it happened yesterday. It travelled all over town, long before it made the media. And I can say people are less than happy.

I dare say the Employment Relations Authority has something to say about having staff find out they may lose their jobs (if they can only work in Ashburton) from the visiting Prime Minister rather than from the employer. But who is liable – the employer or the PM? 🙂

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