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EPMU: Manufacturing Strategy Needed

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, January 30th, 2013 - 14 comments
Categories: economy, jobs, Unions - Tags: ,

Media Release: Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union

New Zealand needs a national manufacturing strategy to drive economic growth and provide secure, well-paid jobs for New Zealand workers, the EPMU told the Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing [on Monday].

EPMU national secretary Bill Newson told the inquiry the hands-off approach of the last 30 years had left the manufacturing sector in crisis and a more active approach was needed.

“There is a jobs crisis in New Zealand and we need to face it head-on”, he said. “We need urgent action to protect jobs now, and we need a plan to grow the New Zealand manufacturing sector into the future.

“In the last four years New Zealand’s manufacturing sector has lost 40,000 jobs, and in 2012 alone our union was notified of redundancies by an average of two companies a week.

“These redundancies aren’t just statistics, they are real people living in real communities with real families to support. For many manufacturing workers facing redundancy the only options are low-paid, insecure work or to join the exodus of Kiwis leaving for Australia.

“If we are going to build an economy that provides good, secure, well-paid jobs then a thriving manufacturing sector has to be at its core. We have seen that leaving it to the whims of the market doesn’t work.

“It’s time for a more active approach, and that means taking action on our overvalued and volatile exchange rate, supporting Kiwi jobs through government procurement policies and taking a more hands-on approach to develop our manufacturing sector.”

Mr Newson said a New Zealand manufacturing strategy should include:

• Active support for the manufacturing sector through a range appropriate taxation and investment policies, including policies that drive investment in research and development.

• Higher commitment to skills development, with government supporting the manufacturing sector to ensure the creation and retention of a skilled workforce.

• Action to lower and to stabilise the exchange rate, which is hurting New Zealand’s manufacturing sector. The Government must investigate ways of balancing our exchange rate to retain economic competiveness.

• Procurement policies for government agencies that support New Zealand manufacturing. The flow-on effect of buying locally must be factored into any bids received and bottom-line cost cannot be prioritised over the local economic benefits of supporting local industries.

• Policies that enhance support for manufacturing enterprises in provincial centres as part of an overall manufacturing strategy.

14 comments on “EPMU: Manufacturing Strategy Needed”

  1. ad 1

    Interesting it doesn’t mention either innovation, or any specific sectors. Neutral to sector.

    Government responds saying that the new Callaghan Institute will deliver ….. hmmm.

    As all but the PSA and EPMU unions fade fast, we will seriously miss these alternative voices that bolster debate.

  2. Bill 2

    New Zealand needs a national manufacturing strategy to drive economic growth…

    Nope. That’s the fucking last thing NZ or anywhere else needs. We need a manufacturing strategy that will provide at least a good proportion of our manufacturing needs. And we need a manufacturing strategy that will provide goods of the highest quality and longest durability. And we need a manufacturing strategy that allows for a focus on innovative, smart and fast ways to shift away from an open ended carbon fuelled model of production and consumption (ie, away from resource extraction – manufacture and sale – city dump).

    And if that means incidental growth in the short term then okay. But we really do need to disavow ourselves of this fucking stupid notion that growth should get pushed stage front and center every time anything about production is mentioned.

    That press release came from a union. Unions were not set up to perpetuate the market system of production and distribution. And whereas I can acknowledge that there was a point in time when unions had to adopt a more conservative stance – that time has passed: it’s gone.

    Four degrees says fuck growth. Four degrees says unions can return to their core principles and values. And four degrees says there is absolutely no other option on the table.

    • Daveo 2.1

      To be fair, it’s a press release about the failures of neoliberalism as it relates to the manufacturing sector, not a full manifesto on the need to abolish capitalism. The headline ‘Labour’s union backers call for abolition of capitalism’ sure would spice up the manufacturing inquiry though.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        :-) Yup, I wouldn’t expect an anti-capitalist banner, but they could just drop any mention of economic growth – allow people to make that assumption but basically begin the process of removing it from the narrative instead of constantly reinforcing its supposed importance. And they could begin to move the focus from ‘manufacturing for manufacturing’s sake’ in recognition of the real world situation without explicitly mentioning that unmentionable 4 degrees and the urgent imperitive for radical and fundamental changes to our ways of ‘going about things’. And yes, that’s assuming that they even understand the seriousness of the situation we are facing and – I know – they just don’t get it. And they don’t get it because they are just as lost in the trees that make up the forest of orthodoxy as those of the business community.

        • CV - Real Labour 2.1.1.1

          And we need a manufacturing strategy that will provide goods of the highest quality, durability, repairability, re-usability and recyclability.

          If I may :)

          Basically its an import subsitution programme geared at preparing NZ for climate change and peak oil.

    • Polish Pride 2.2

      +1 on Bills comment…

  3. aerobubble 3

    I find it hard to believe that we cannot compete with any of the states of Australia on manufacturing, our economies are the same (any regulative difference are self-imposed abuse), the real worry is how farfetched the arguments in keeping the status quo, that we reward capital gains. Many kiwis up anchor and get a job in OZ mining, many Kiwi companies are on a level playing field with those companies supporting the Australian mining boom. Its little difference whether a company is in Adelaide, Brisbane or Auckland. The problem with NZ is our tax system is rigged to support capital gains farming, a risk premium, that supports massive currency trades and undermines our competitive ability. Joyce pooh pooh manufactures when he suggested that their problems with high and volatile nature of the currency means nothing to him, has nothing to help.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    New Zealand needs a national manufacturing strategy to drive economic growth and provide secure,

    Increasing productivity must result in decreasing number of jobs. As this is true then we really need to look at other ways to ensure that people both have enough to live on and what work there is is fairly shared.

    It’s time for a more active approach, and that means taking action on our overvalued and volatile exchange rate,

    Ah, yes, the export led recovery.

    Doesn’t work because of that increasing productivity and the simple fact that all other countries are trying for the same thing.

  5. Mark 5

    “many Kiwi companies are on a level playing field with those companies supporting the Australian mining boom. Its little difference whether a company is in Adelaide, Brisbane or Auckland.”
    Not so sure about that.. most mining equipment is big and heavy, I imagine wharf and shipping costs would be prohibitive.

    “It’s time for a more active approach, and that means taking action on our overvalued and volatile exchange rate” now considering that a recurring theme here is that Key & his “mates” should be shot for treason for apparently driving down an overvalued dollar a few years ago.. hilarious!

  6. burt 6

    I read all that the EPMU said as being boiled down to….

    It’s not fair that government policy isn’t guaranteeing union membership numbers via compulsory unionism…

    It must be hard being so irrelevant in the modern world when you once controlled everything in your own best interests.

    • Te Reo Putake 6.1

      Cite needed, Burtroll. Feel free to show us anything that backs up your ludicrous claim. Anything at all.

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