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Manufacturing strategy underway under coalition

9 February 2005 Media release

Manufacturing strategy underway under Labour Progressive

The development of the manufacturing sector into a high skill, high value, internationally capable industry group is well underway, including preparation for a national manufacturing strategic planning conference, according to Jim Anderton, Minister of Economic Development.

He was responding to the call for a manufacturing summit, made today by the Engineers Union as Interlock moves its Wellington plant to China.

"The Labour Progressive government has been working with industry to develop high value, high skill products and connect businesses with international markets, suppliers and distributors. This means our manufacturing industry will be better able to stay and grow in New Zealand, rather than move offshore.

"Work is currently proceeding on a National Manufacturing Strategy, in consultation with stakeholders, including both employers and trade unions. Once the strategy has been developed it will be the subject of a national conference later in 2005. I will ensure that the engineers and other unions will be involved in that.

"In the meantime, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development have been working with key growth sectors and individual businesses to help ensure they stay in New Zealand and develop high value manufactured products.

"For example, Whispertech, the innovative company that recently developed a mini energy generator, has been given assistance to ensure that it's product orders can be filled by generators manufactured in New Zealand. World leading marine technology manufacturer Navman has had assistance to stay in New Zealand by tapping into international markets through Brunswick Corporation. This is just a small sample of the work we are doing to keep creative and innovative companies in New Zealand while reaching their all important international markets.

"There will inevitably be shifts in the manufacturing sector as it moves from a low value to a high value production. Companies are also likely to move closer to their markets until the sector develops stronger links to international markets. It is sad for the workers caught in the transition period, like those at Interlock in Wellington, but I believe that as the sector gets stronger and more secure, high paid jobs will become available to them. We are also fortunate that New Zealand is in the middle of the best period of employment growth in a generation," Jim Anderton said.

Jim Anderton will be addressing a Council of Trade Unions seminar on the Future of Manufacturing on the 10th of March this year.

ENDS

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