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Manufacturing in NZ - what does the future hold?

A comprehensive report on New Zealand’s manufacturing sector signals some of the strengths and challenges facing the sector at present.

Released at joint event hosted by the EMA and The
Manufacturers Network today, the "Beyond commodities: Manufacturing into the future" report generated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is the first report to look at the manufacturing sector as a whole.

"What’s important to note about this report, is that we ignore the manufacturing sector at our peril," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.

"With manufacturing accounting for more than half our export revenue, 42% of New Zealand’s business expenditure on research and development along with employing at least 11% of the workforce or more, it’s a sizeable contributor to key elements of our economy now and in the future.

"The sector is also the engine of growth as these industries create demand for inputs from a range of other innovative and knowledge intensive sectors.
"The fact our economy has moved on from one based on commodities approach to one of value-add and is now a significant employer in the regions shows the importance of manufacturing to the wider New Zealand economy.

"Yet, of concern is investment in productivity, finding enough skilled workers and remaining competitive on the global market. In spite of this, manufacturing wages are 15% higher than New Zealand’s average.

"As manufacturing goes through its next revolution, most developed countries are embracing Industry 4.0 and its enablers such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. New Zealand needs to be engaged in this process and a new policy platform is a vital next step in this process," says Mr Campbell.

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