November 8, 2006
Make it here and show you care
The union that represents manufacturing workers is challenging New Zealand companies that manufacture overseas to front up to Kiwi workers and explain why.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little told guests at today’s launch of the New Zealand Made Showcase that the campaign had to be about people like Charta Packaging forklift driver Frances Wilson and MJH Engineering draftsman Tim Nuku, who were standing alongside him.
“For those who say that it’s okay to design goods here and manufacture them overseas, have they the courage to look Frances and Tim in the eye and convince them that it’s good for them and their families and for their communities.
“If we want to trade on loyalty to the New Zealand brand then that loyalty must be to New Zealand itself; New Zealand and its citizens and its people; its innovators, its entrepreneurs, its manufacturing workers.”
Manufacturing was a major force in New Zealand, whether people realised it or not.
“In New Zealand no fewer than 225,000 workers and their families depend on manufacturing for their livelihood,” he said.
“The sector makes up nearly two thirds of the nation’s exports. The average wage in the sector (excluding management and technical positions) is over $20 an hour. And nearly half of all modern apprenticeships are in the manufacturing sector.”
Mr Little said that companies like Fisher and Paykel and Navman had shown a deep commitment to developing manufacturing capability and skilled jobs in New Zealand.
“They have shown loyalty to New Zealand,” he said.
“They generally have commitment to good work processes and a good quality working environment. And they all have a workforce that is loyal to their companies and to the work they do in New Zealand. Between them the companies sustain many thousands of families, including thousands beyond the gates of their plants and factories.”