There's more bad news that's come out Christchurch today which could set back the city's recovery. It's disappointing to learn that Designline, the bus company that invented the gas turbine hybrid and various other innovative, clean transport technologies, has gone into liquidation, which could result in the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The Christchurch-based Kiwi company has built a global reputation for pioneering the development of cutting edge electric and hybrid buses that were transforming the public transport sectors in the US, Europe, the UAE, and Australia. Designline is the kind of company that could be part of New Zealand's transport solutions too. However, it seems that not only is it another business that’s fallen victim to the Christchurch earthquake, but that perhaps it’s failure is also due to the refusal of regional and national Government to do anything meaningful about getting in behind those cleantech companies that could become a part of a cleaner, smarter economy.
Earlier this year, NZ Bus awarded Scottish bus builders Alexander Dennis a contract to build 120 buses for Auckland and Wellington - a contract worth NZ$50 million – which could have been awarded to a New Zealand-based company, benefiting both our economy, our workforce, and of course our environment. So it's sad to see such an innovative company facing financial uncertainty.
Had the Government announced the establishment of a Green Investment Bank - a bank specifically designed to fund the move to a low carbon future - as part of its budget, Designline would have had another option to raise capital, which may have made the company’s development a whole lot more viable. It seems that whilst the Government will bend over backwards to subsidise the activities, and protect the interests of, overseas oil companies, Kiwi companies and jobs are being left to wither on the vine.