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Manufacturing+ - ‘Yes Minister’.

Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association
Media Release
23 November 2006.

Manufacturing+ - ‘Yes Minister’.

The Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association says that the ‘Manufacturing+’ initiative lacks focus, precision and fails to grasp the basic needs of manufacturers and will not support future growth in the sector.

The CMA says that the vague recommendations of the scheme allow any political party to cherry pick and those aspects that fit with its own view of the world and enables them to legitimately say ‘we are doing something’ while really achieving very little. The Association is calling on the Government to focus on a core group of issues that will enable manufacturing to grow export, rather than spend more taxpayers’ money discussing a vague array of ideas at forums and workshops.

“This is another case of inquiry substituting action” says Chief Executive John Walley. “This scheme talks about injecting value add into the manufacturing sector and developing world leaders for the future, but unfortunately this will not be achieved by talking about issues such as strategy, creativity and connections to markets. The sector needs effective and supportive policy on the ground not as some bureaucrats ‘piece of work’”.

“People, plant, product and patents are fundamental to any form of innovation. Policies such as offering tax incentives for Research and Development and staff training, investment in plant and patents offer real help not noise. For New Zealand, policy safeguarding against the ‘yo-yo’ currency would add further incentives for manufacturers to developing export markets”.

Mr. Walley says that these policies are internationally recognized by our trading partners and global competitors; they are doing something while we just do more research and talk about what might need to be done. What bit about ‘we are going backwards’ does the Government and bureaucracy not understand?”

“Policy coherence, precision and focus will make a difference to New Zealand’s manufacturers. However, Manufacturing+ has all the hallmarks of ‘Yes Minister’ where discussion and inactivity are a substitute for progress. There needs to be direction and leadership on the part of the Government and a focus on delivering policies that match the growth and innovation rhetoric. Until then manufacturing will struggle against low cost and better supported overseas competition and New Zealand will continue to slip further down OECD rankings”.


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