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The future for manufacturing in New Zealand

10 March 2005

The future for manufacturing in New Zealand

The future of New Zealand Manufacturing was the topic of discussion between Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic Development and key union officials at a CTU hosted forum this morning in Wellington.

"The reality is, the manufacturing sector is a very important part of the overall economy. It accounts for fourteen percent of jobs, sixteen percent of GDP, and nineteen percent of our exports," Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development said.

"The issue for the future of manufacturing is not what sector you are in: It is the degree of competitive value you add. We need innovation and creativity supported by skills and talent. The next step after that is to reach global markets. The government is working with businesses around the country on these issues.

"It's important to confront the fact that the future in New Zealand for low value labour intensive manufacturing is bleak and I believe a lot more could have been done in the eighties and nineties to secure the future of many industry sectors that have struggled, from car assembly to textiles. However, we are now working on assisting such industries to make the necessary transformation.

"We have some way to go before we can say the manufacturing sector is truly in a dynamic, vibrant state. Productivity must be lifted and innovation encouraged in order to sustain and grow the industry, and ultimately raise the incomes of all New Zealanders. I look forward to working with both businesses and unions to maximise the potential of our manufacturing industries," Jim Anderton said.

New Zealand trade and Enterprise is working on a manufacturing strategy at the moment and a conference will be held later in the year to discuss it. No date is set as yet.

ENDS

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