I’ve not had time to read it, but it’s great to see a report by 4 out of parliament’s 7 or 8* parties, showing a united stance to one of our country’s biggest economic problems.
40,000 lost jobs in 4 years; the worst current account deficit in the developed world (overtaking Greece) – and a government that’s ignoring it. We need some big solutions and a combined force committed to it.
So, from the Executive Summary, the Recommendations:
Recommendation 1: The government adopt macroeconomic settings that are supportive of manufacturing and exporting, including:
- a fairer and less volatile exchange rate through reforms to monetary policy;
- refocusing capital investment into the productive economy, rather than housing speculation;
- and lowering structural costs in the economy, such as electricity prices.
Recommendation 2: New Zealand businesses are encouraged to innovate. Research and Development tax credits, with a stronger emphasis on development, should be introduced as part of a package for innovative manufacturing, supporting exports and quality jobs.
Recommendation 3: The Government adopt a national procurement policy that favours Kiwi-made and ensures that New Zealand manufacturers enjoy the same advantages as their international competitors.
Recommendation 4: The tax system is used to boost investment in new technology and machinery. An accelerated depreciation regime should be implemented for the manufacturing sector.
Recommendation 5: A wide range of funding is available for manufacturers to invest in their business and employees. Measures to encourage the availability of venture capital and mezzanine funding should be continued, including government funds through commercial-managers.
Recommendation 6: Businesses are supported to achieve 21st Century organisation and practices. Policies such as NZTE’s focus on Lean Management, and the work of the High Performance Work Initiative should be extended. Apprenticeship training support for the sector should be reviewed immediately.
Recommendation 7: Manufacturers are given a voice in FTA negotiations. From the outset of FTA negotiations the interests of manufacturing must be explicitly addressed. Negotiating teams must keep the sector informed.
Recommendation 8: Measures to encourage foreign direct investment in manufacturers should be consistent with the strategic direction of New Zealand’s manufacturing and exports.
Recommendation 9: Government should lower compliance costs wherever they can be consistent with maintaining New Zealand’s values including workers’ rights, environmental standards, and product quality assurance.
Recommendation 10: Manufacturing’s ability to create jobs and boost exports should be recognised in national, regional and industry policies.
Recommendation 11: Taskforces of government local government, businesses and unions, be established to assess and act on new business and job opportunities in the wake of major closures or restructuring in the manufacturing sector.
No doubt other authors will have their say, but first look: good stuff.
* Is United Future a parliamentary party David Carter?