Future prosperity requires high tech industry
18 April 2008
IPENZ – Future prosperity requires action to embed high tech industries in New Zealand
No country has got rich by biology alone – a return to the top half of the OECD requires a vibrant manufacturing sector as well. Recent events show how at risk we are according to IPENZ.
“Manufacturing that can remain embedded in New Zealand in the face of the high New Zealand dollar must be high technology-based and highly automated. That way the earnings per worker are high enough to support NZ wage levels. Also the levels of skill required cannot be obtained in developing counties,” says Dr Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive of IPENZ, Engineers New Zealand.
“Just as the biological section got “Fast Forward” funding earlier this year, the Government must work with the private sector to develop a plan to transition the manufacturing sector to an increasingly highly technical and highly automated industry. That will increase national labour productivity to support New Zealand’s higher pay rates,” says Dr Cleland.
“This needs more highly skilled engineering technicians and technologists. Because of the current low levels of engineering technicians and technologists emerging from our tertiary sector, New Zealand is at major risk. These highly skilled people are critical to the embedding of high tech industry in New Zealand. IPENZ is working with the tertiary sector to develop an engineering education plan to address this issue,” he says.
“However we also need a plan to get R&D, market information and production better aligned so we realise every possibility to create, embed and retain outstanding manufacturers in New Zealand.”