Minister for Manufacturing a vital step for New Zealand manufacturers

Manufacturers say they are pleased with a July 21 announcement by James Shaw and the Green Party to include a Minster for Manufacturing in any future cabinet.  This is a vital step for ensuring government understands manufacturing and can effectively help unleash the potential of the sector, says the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA), a solid idea it hopes can be embraced by any and all political parties

“Manufacturing remains one of the biggest providers of quality jobs with wages higher than the average, economic growth and export income into New Zealand.  Yet manufacturing has been undervalued and not well understood by governments for a long time – this is a stark contrast to the focus and representation most other sectors find within government,” said NZMEA Chief Executive Dieter Adam.

“When we consider the importance of manufacturing to New Zealand’s future, introducing a Minister for Manufacturing is a common sense decision.  This will help government and manufacturing businesses better work together to achieve our goals of sustainable high-value growth, increased export income and more well paid jobs for our people. 

“A specific focus on manufacturing and industry in government is an idea that is being increasingly embraced by governments around the world.  The new UK Prime Minister has introduced a new industrial strategy, as well as the US, Australian and German Governments all putting considerable effort into strategy’s to understand and improve their high-value manufacturing sectors into the future.  New Zealand cannot stand idle while our competitors take manufacturing seriously.

“Manufacturing also faces significant changes in the future that will act as threats, as well as huge opportunities for New Zealand if we can get ahead, such as Industry 4.0, automation and other technologies like 3D printing. A more focused view of manufacturing, through a Minister for Manufacturing, will help develop more effective responses to these changes,” says Adam.