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Manufacturing Strategy Needs A Change Of Attitude

10th February 2005

Manufacturing Strategy Needs A Change Of Attitude

"The governments announcement of a Manufacturing Summit is welcomed" says Alasdair Thompson, chief executive, Employers and Manufactures Association (Northern).

"Given the importance of manufacturing as our largest employer and its role as an exporter, investing in manufacturing and lifting its productivity, raising research and development , design and innovation are hugely important to raising the per capita incomes of New Zealanders.

"The environment for manufacturing must be conducive to establishing and growing manufacturing plants. We know the Resource Management Act, product legislation such as HSNO (hazardous substances and noxious organisms), rules for depreciation and expensing R&D, free trade agreements are all important issues to manufacturers and their employees.

"The EMA's call for company tax cuts likewise is to improve the overall environment for business investment which is lower than Australia's and explains why productivity per capita is also lower here.

"It is important to remember that the movement of manufacture overseas is not always one way and New Zealand needs to create and exploit its advantages.

"The closure of the HMG plant in Sydney and current relocation of operations to the HMG Manukau plant is an example of this. The significant upgrade investment and plant expansion demonstrates that with the right support New Zealand can attract and retain high export earning manufacturing businesses.

"In this instance the willingness of the Manukau City Council to fast track RMA procedures and the efficiency of the New Zealand plant meant that it was commercially viable and more attractive than investing in upgrading the Sydney plant.

EMA is developing a manifesto for manufacturing and we see the proposed manufacturing summit as an opportunity to identify policy priorities to increase investment in New Zealand's manufacturing productivity.

ENDS

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