Have your say on the future of manufacturing

June 1, 2022

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy and will be a key sector into the future, highlighted by the Government’s commitment to the draft Industry Transformation Plan, launched today.

EMA Chief Executive, Brett O’Riley, says the sector plan builds on decades of success in a globally competitive market that is adapting to doing things differently.

"There is an unambiguous pathway to higher wages through a more highly skilled manufacturing sector, and an unambiguous pathway to greater prosperity for our country," he says.

Manufacturers currently contribute more than 10 per cent to the country’s economy and workforce, and Mr O’Riley says not only is it one of the most ethnically diverse workforces - it is the second largest employer of Māori and largest employer of Pasifika - but is embracing the opportunity to acquire more skills.

"I’ve seen their commitment to the future first-hand through our EMA members and the work that we’ve been doing with Beca, Callaghan Innovation and other partners in delivering the Industry 4.0 programme."

Mr O’Riley, who is co-chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Tripartite Steering Group, says the draft Industry Transformation Plan has been developed in partnership with business, unions and workers, Māori and wider stakeholders to identify both a long-term vision and short-term actions for the sector.

"The plan maps out the pathway for manufacturing that takes it into the future in line with our country’s aspirations to be a low-carbon, sustainable economy, and it is already underway," he says.

"We’re seeing new opportunities for manufacturers to cluster to take advantage of economies of scale and modern practices, including in contract manufacturing. An example is the Ngawha Innovation Park in Northland, and we know there are similar opportunities being developed in Auckland’s Southern Corridor, and the Comfort Group’s Development at Ohinewai."

Mr O’Riley says one of the keys to maintaining the sector transformation to accelerate its growth will be to create an environment that encourages the investment in new plant, new technology, and new skills - something the EMA will continue to work with the Government on.

"We have a great opportunity to bring together a raft of elements - skills, sustainability, carbon neutrality and competitiveness - and invest in the future of manufacturing.

Consultation on the draft Advanced Manufacturing Industry Transformation Plan opens today and includes in-person workshops and webinars throughout New Zealand over the next six weeks. 

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