A new report released today by a group representing New Zealand’s manufacturing industry associations outlines a blueprint to work with Government to strengthen manufacturing capability and reduce trade barriers to support the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The New Zealand Manufacturing Alliance’s Manufacturing Matters report includes a range of policy proposals in the areas of innovation, capital and investment, trade, skills, procurement and achieving sustainable growth in a low-carbon economy. The proposals are designed to address challenges to the sector’s future including growing trade protectionism, the transition to zero carbon, skills shortages, and the shift to the fourth industrial revolution. The report highlights the crucial contribution manufacturing makes to the economy, accounting for 10 percent of New Zealand’s GDP and employment, more than half of exports and a third of business R&D expenditure it also underpins the success of other key sectors.

Manufacturing Alliance spokesperson Nick Collins says a strong manufacturing sector is crucial to New Zealand’s future prosperity. “The pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of globalisation, the frailties of international supply chains and the vulnerability of relying on income from tourism and international education as major sources of export revenue. “A vibrant domestic manufacturing sector is going to be critical to New Zealand’s economic recovery, building resilience against future global shocks whether they be pandemics, recession or the challenges of climate change or natural disaster. “In particular, as New Zealand moves into the recovery phase, it will be critical that as a nation we continue to work with others in ensuring international trade laws are upheld in the face of a rising tide of protectionism and other unfair trade practices. “New Zealand’s manufacturers are ready to work with Government to develop an industry transformation strategy to support the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”

The Manufacturing Alliance represents The Manufacturers Network, Metals New Zealand, Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association, Plastics NZ, and the NZ Maintenance Engineers Society. The Alliance has been working with Government on a range of issues including safe work protocols to restart the non-food manufacturing sector since the COVID-19 outbreak. “Our invitation to the Government is now on the table to implement these recommendations and do what many other advanced economies have done – develop a cohesive strategy to grow the role of manufacturing in our economy,” says Mr Collins. “We’ve done the analysis - now we’re inviting the Government to work with us to make this happen.” Click for the Final Report and here for the Summary