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Why can’t the Right face the manufacturing crisis?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, June 12th, 2013 - 116 comments
Categories: jobs - Tags:

The NBR (motto: ‘our circulation’s falling at 12% per year’) and the Right blogs are all aflutter after supposedly proving that Russel Norman is wrong and there haven’t been 40,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2008. NBR’s Rob Hosking claims the number is only 10,000-20,000. Because, you know, that would be OK. But the truth is, Norman’s right – 40,000 manufacturing job losses since June 2008.

Here’s a wee graph of the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector:

manufacturing jobs

Note the sharp fall during the economic crisis hasn’t reversed during the ‘recovery’. In fact, the trend is still down. The number of jobs in the manufacturing industry is now the lowest on record.

So, what’s Rob Hosking going on about? Well, he doesn’t actually look at the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector. Instead, he looks at the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs instead. But when you actually look at the trend, its no good either.

manufacturing jobs FTE

Whoops, you can see the same fall and the same lack of recovery – a 16% fall since June 2008 to now.

But Hosking has another trick up his sleeve. The Household Labourforce Survey shows the number of people employed in manufacturing.

manufacturing employment

Whoops. Again, the big drop-off and no recovery.

Even Hosking’s different series – that don’t relate the the 40,000 manufacturing jobs lost figure that Norman has been using – still show that a huge decrease in work in the manufacturing sector has occurred. However you cut it, four years after the recession ended, there is no recovery but, rather, further decline.

Well, that’s all fine and dandy isn’t it righties?

Why can’t the Right acknowledge the fact that manufacturing, the part of our economy that adds value to the raw goods we produce, the only part of our economy that can ultimately stop us getting deeper and deeper in debt to the rest of the world, is in deep trouble?

Because, just as with reforming the broken electricity market that National created, the answers to the problems challenge the very basis of the Right’s neoliberal economics. And that model has made a few people (including the few remaining readers of the NBR) very wealthy even as they’ve made the rest of us and the country as a whole poorer.

They can’t acknowledge the problem, because the solution means an end to their privilege.

116 comments on “Why can’t the Right face the manufacturing crisis?”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    I understand when National talks about ‘manufacturing’ they include construction related jobs, which also tends to inflate their numbers.
    Hosking wouldnt be able to produce his numbers without high level support from the beehive

  2. Don’t worry Newt Gingrich/John Key will ‘rebuild’ New Zealand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvNVzUINVg

  3. tracey 3

    Judging by over $1m home sales in auckland some never had a gfc

  4. tc 4

    Job losses arent a crises to the right eddie, profits are good, wages are low and with no CGT the assets that keep rising in value represent growing wealth. The environment makes it easier to push the workers about, things are very good for the top end of town.

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      The steel, extractive and auto industries are well known for executive quotes along the lines of “we’re not in the business of making steel, were in the business of making money”.

      For years Ford did make a tidy earn from manufacturing vehicles, surplus value being appropriated at factory level, their finance capital arm “Ford Motor Credit” was where the cash really poured in though from the poor saps that signed up for finance deals.

      Why should the right give one about manufacturing?, it is about where the revenue stream is coming from for them, which is why they need their asses kicked good and hard, this is why Labour and Greens have to join the anti capitalist world or just remain as a slow drain on society’s potential.

  5. One Anonymous Knucklehead 5

    Manufacturers employ fifty-five thousand union members.

    Perhaps this explains why the National Party is happy with the trend.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    The problem is that employment data isn’t a valid indicator of a manufacturing crisis anyway. That is because manufacturers seek to find methods to reduce their labour costs through automation and the like. Also, if manufacturing is getting better income through higher prices for less production, then manufacturers margins will be improving, but employment could still be falling. This means that employment in manufacturing could well be falling regardless of how well the sector is going.

    To make my point the latest manufacturing survey tends to support the points I made above.

    • deano 6.1

      its a valid indicator of crisis for the people who used to have those 40,000 jobs.

      Plus, look at the GDP figures. This is the part of our economy where real growth comes from and its underperforming significantly. In fact, its still 10% smaller than its pre-recession level.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Hey TS according to you, the more manufacturing employment drops the better the sector is doing. The more sensible answer is that the entire sector is being crushed by the high dollar and bad govt decisions, like outsourcing train manufacture to China.

    • Roger 6.3

      News relating to the job losses have shown that the job losses have come about through closures of factories and plants, and whole companies due to tough economic conditions and an unwillingness to take any meaningful action by this government is seen as a contributing factor. Not so much that improved technology or investment in capital is the main cause of this. Productivity growth is still a problem which suggests that automation is not a key driver.

  7. George D 7

    Actually, all these graphs are even worse than they appear, as none of them directly measure manufacturing as a percentage of the employed population, which continues to grow.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Sorry, my link didn’t show up above. Here it is.

    As can be seen, value in exporting returns have been rising since the gfc, even though volumes have fallen. The logic of this is that manufacturers are getting more profitable. Despite what the left would like to think, businesses exist to make profits, not create jobs. So, by that definition, there isn’t a crisis.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Other than dairy, and to a lesser extent meat,, the export sector is bleeding jobs TS. You yourself just admitted that doesn’t matter to you. apart from the last 3 years of dairy boom, manufacturing employment is suffering badly, including Hillside, F&P and Tait being three big ones.

      This doesn’t matter to right wingers because you can just get your shit from China.

    • Arfamo 8.2

      Despite what the left would like to think, businesses exist to make profits, not create jobs. So, by that definition, there isn’t a crisis.

      This is true, but it would be appreciated if the Key government would stop the remorseless lying that when businesses make profits this automatically means more jobs.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        In fact, more profits mean less jobs, less money for wages, and more money for owners.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      Despite what the left would like to think, businesses exist to make profits, not create jobs.

      True but that just shows that the purpose of the economy is completely wrong because it fails to bring about the well being of society as businesses only chase profits.

      • Colonial Viper 8.3.1

        And as you so often point out – profits are usually a dead loss weight borne by society at large.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Why do you want to exclude dairy?

    Surely that is just showing a re-adjustment towards what we do best (growing food). This has been going on for years.

    Look around your house and see how much of what you have is made in China. If you are like most people in NZ, you could probably put your hand up and agree that your own purchasing choices have been responsible for the decline in manufacturing of non-edible products.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      You exclude the primary sector in order to understand the state of highly fabricated non-commodity manufacturing in this country, things like trains, electronics and appliances. Which, please listen up, is shit.

      “You could probably put your hand up and agree that your own purchasing choices have been responsible for the decline in manufacturing of non-edible products.”

      I don’t usually buy any trains in a given year, dickwad, but yeah, the National Government’s purchasing choices have indeed been responsible for a decline in NZ manufacturing.

      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        I don’t disagree with you. All I am saying is that decline is part of a much longer trend that has been going on for decades. You could exclude dairy to make that point. However, it is a fairly obvious one, and has more to do with NZ attitudes towards buying the cheapest rather than the best (IMO).

        However, if you want to argue that manufacturing as a whole is in crisis, then you shouldn’t exclude dairy. “Crisis” implies something sudden and unexpected. However, the decline in non-edible goods has been known about for years, and wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          OK its good that you finally, although very reluctantly, accept that manufacturing has been in serious decline in NZ for a very long time.

          • tsmithfield 9.1.1.1.1

            I haven’t argued against this point if you read above. It is you who decided to split manufacturing into categories.

            You admit the decline has been “for a very long time”. So, on that basis it isn’t a crisis. Its a long-term trend. Long term trends can be planned for in business decision making. It is still possible to manufacture non-edible goods for export in NZ, but it needs to be a well thought out proposition for success.

            • Rosetinted 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Very wise ts. Now put your fine brain to working out how that ‘proposition for success’ should be worded, implemented, monitored, corrected and repeated continuously. This shouldn’t be too hard for you.

              • tsmithfield

                Happy to.

                Any manufacturer might as well forget about high-volume production type goods such as electronics, clothing etc. China has that market fairly much cornered.

                However, where the volume is lower, customisation is required, or there are specific competitive advantages for manufacturing here, then there are still opportunities.

                • Colonial Viper

                  slack, TS, please focus on what the government can do for starters.

                  • tsmithfield

                    All the government can do is shift the deck chairs around.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      False. Your ideology of a hands-off free market Government is showing.

                      When you look at technology manufacturing centres like Taiwan, China, Japan, Germany and USA you can see that those governments are indeed very very hands-on.

                • vto

                  “China has that market fairly much cornered”. You see TS, this is where we all get hoodwinked. Statements like that roll off the tongue as if it is some kind of level playing field. The truth of course is that we take full blown advantage of their poor working conditions, abysmal environmental controls, on it goes.

                  If we had any credibility we would insist on letting no imports into the country which have been produced under conditions we do not permit ourselves in NZ.

                  Otherwise we are simply slave-owners ourselves dumping our toxic waste into the nearest stream. Which is what we are – we just do it in China.

                  It is bullshit.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Oh, a point I forgot to make earlier about how NZ manufacturers can compete with the likes of China is through greater automation. Of course, automation means less employees.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      automation is useless for low volume specialised manufacturing like you have recommended TS. Please don’t contradict yourself.

                    • tsmithfield

                      There is “volume” and “volume”. What is low volume for a chinese firm could still be high volume for NZ. Remember, its not only China we compete against. So, automation is still quite viable for what China might consider low volume.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      automation is useless for low volume specialised manufacturing like you have recommended TS.

                      Nope. Of course, that does require huge amounts of R&D – just what the governments in the USA, Taiwan, China, Japan and Germany did. NZ used to do a lot more as well.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Fair enough.

                • Poission

                  China only has the ability to compete at high volume ,low cost products,it is very inefficient at small run high end technology.In this area it cannot compete with US manufacturers even when wage costs are 4-5 times greater in the US.

                  NZ is constrained by capital investment, r&d ,and the high value of the $,which has seen us unable to compete in traditional markets such as Australia.

                  The high $ around 20% higher against fundamentals is ratcheted up on speculation (arbitrage and low tax constraints on non residents) high volume automated trading, and most important down right fraud.The later being a good reason why we should never take analysis from any market player (present or past).

                  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-11/traders-said-to-rig-currency-rates-to-profit-off-clients.html

                  funny that the followers explain that their faith based models,tell us that their imaginary friend (the market ) is the cure for all the worlds financial problems,when the emerging evidence show us the game is rigged.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Good businesses are being pushed against the wall by the Government. I thought you would care about that. Leaving our economy to the “free market” is a disastrous ideology and you should move away from it.

              By the way, of course it is a “crisis”. Lives of families are being destroyed, don’t you realise that? Why are you so dead calm about it?

              • tsmithfield

                People need to adjust to the new reality. It should frame education and career choices.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The “new reality”?

                  I never picked you as a helpless fatalist TS. It’s very sad, you could do more you know.

                  Low paid service industry jobs is not a vision you should be promoting to our youth, my friend.

                  • tsmithfield

                    There are progressively fewer and fewer low paid factory type jobs availabe. In my experience, even in factories these days, most machines require a good deal of smarts to operate. So, education is even more important today than in the past.

                    Also, people need to be aware of trends when making choices for career paths. If they go against the trend, then they may find they have wasted a lot of time and money training for a job that doesn’t exist when they get to the other side.

                    • tracey

                      Certainly explains the over supply of accountants and lawyers ts.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Also, people need to be aware of trends when making choices for career paths.

                      And just how are they supposed to know that? Where’s the centralised database that’s going to tell people what skills will be needed in the country in 5+ years time?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      TS buying into the “efficient market” hypothesis- all market participants have perfect knowledge and foresight into likely market conditions.

                      It’s necromancer idiocy.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      In my experience, even in factories these days, most machines require a good deal of smarts to operate. So, education is even more important today than in the past.

                      What fucking bullshit.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  People need to adjust to the new reality.

                  People can’t because this government is upping tuition fees, decreasing funding to tertiary education and making surviving on any benefit impossible.

            • vto 9.1.1.1.1.3

              Yes, a long term trend. So what is going to happen when we don’t make anything here? It seems all a bit brainless to me – what will we all do with ourselves? Trade houses between ourselves constantly? Not to mention of course – what will happen when (not if) the shipping containers stop arriving? Or China decides it doesn’t want to send anything here? Where will we get our undies made? How will we know how to make steel and plastic?

              Talk about backing oneself into a position of vulnerability…… bloody stoopid this idea of outsourcing everything.

              • tsmithfield

                Trying to reverse this trend is like trying to stop the tide. Much better to adapt than resist.

                • vto

                  that makes no sense

                  • tsmithfield

                    I am heavily involved with automation and the like due to the nature of my business. Many of the firms that manufacture successfully here are able to do so because of specific competitive advantages. They have adapted to the trend, rather than try to resist it. Resisting it would mean trying to establish high volume manufacturing to compete against China.

                    • vto

                      It made no sense because there had been no suggestion of a solution merely a description of the problem.

                      The problem is actually wider than manufacturing and competing. The problem concerns a society outsourcing most of its most basic needs to such an extent that when that outsourcing fails (which it will) we will be left high and dry with no undies, no cars, no steel, no bananas and no garlic.

                      Which is why you should always listen to the hippies. The hippies realise this and that is why they grow and make all their own shit. Go the hippies!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      LOL nice redefinition of “adaptation”.

                      Oh you sad sack, you’re in the manufacturing industry but are happy to condemn your industry to a slow strangulation.

                      The govt needs to push the currency lower for starters, and make cheap capital available for manufacturers.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Nah. We have adapted as well. Our business is primarilly focussed on food industry and construction, where the manufacturing trend discussed above isn’t an issue.

                    • felix

                      “I am heavily involved with automation”

                      Yeah, no shit.

                    • Rosetinted

                      ts
                      What about more R&D allowances for business from the government and support to science from them to increase the number of unique items we can find these niche markets for.

                      And when we have some good start-ups going, what about having a national fund that buys them up when the entrepreneurs want to move onto something else. As a country we can afford to lose millions propping up financiers and letting ponzi schemes blossom, so we can for sure invest in smart and creative businesses some of which will have to be replaced as tastes and trends change.

                      There’s a few ideas to brighten up the resigned and depressing picture you paint. Don’t lie down and get run over – that’s what alcoholics do after they have abandoned their useful lives.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Free market ideology is not a force of nature my friend; it is made by people and promoted by people.

                  • tracey

                    +1

                    Funny how so many seem to think that pandering to bottom line profit motive as the only acceptable measure of success is a “fact of life”. Unchangeable and unmovable.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Profit isn’t the main measure of success in life. But it is the main measure of success in business.

                    • tracey

                      Actually it doesn’t have to be only acceptable the measure of success of a business either…. A business with lots of shareholders or big external shareholders chooses to measure success that way. hence when some CEO’s are asked to improve the bottom line for ridiculous bonuses they take the ax to staff numbers,works for a while.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Profit isn’t the main measure of success in life. But it is the main measure of success in business.

                      This false one dimensional measure is why we’re destroying our world and crushing our people.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  If elected, what steps would Labour take to arrest the undeniable decline in coopering? According to the 1881 census, there were 900 coopers in New Zealand then. Can anyone guess how many there were by the time of the 2006?

                  This is a real crisis that needs addressing immediately.

                  • vto

                    Well that is a great example. Modern day cooperers make plastic drums of course, all in China. When they stop where will we get out cooperered plastic drums? Where gormless?

                  • tracey

                    I wonder why everyone worried about the GFC and took “measures” to address is. Afterall it is just part of a trend, a cycle that keeps repeating.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Yes it is. Due to governments spending more than what they have in revenue over a sustained period.

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      I agree with you, tracey. They shouldn’t have.

                    • vto

                      “Due to governments spending more than what they have in revenue over a sustained period.”

                      Really ts? Your views appear to me incredibly simplistic. It is in fact due to our banking system which is the world’s biggest ponzi scheme – you know, one of those schemes which falls apart unless more money constantly comes in to replace other money.

                      And one other factor if you recall the GFC was actually about private banking and debt. It transferred to government because governments underwrote the bad debts and business practices and insolvencies of the private banks. That’s called privatising the profits and socialising the losses.

                      The GFC was a hint at what is to come as the wheels fly off our fractional reserve banking system. Have you ever wondered how it has come to be that there is more debt in the world than there is money to repay it? How has that happenned do you think?

                    • tracey

                      I thought the GFC was because of private borrowings not public (govt ) borrowings TS?

                      Gormless, you are not agreeing with me, but with TS. Now I understand why you call yourself as you do.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I thought the GFC was because of private borrowings not public (govt ) borrowings TS?

                      Not particularly. Highly leveraged derivatives, toxic/false assets and massively complex chains of rehypothecation were most to blame.

                  • Rosetinted

                    More problems with weevils in ship’s biscuits? Get with present reality Foul OleBB. (With respects to Terry Pratchett).

                  • Rob

                    Yes exactly Gormless , another area of concern to the labour caucus has been the sharp decline of Phrenologists in NZ. Whilst this do nothing government has slashed all the previous training allowances, R&D grants and destroyed the Phrenology union, our best and brightest Phrenologists are off plying their trade in Australia.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s okay – phrenology will be on the curriculum of the first charter school.

                      Sadly, biology has been reduced to “God made it that way” and “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.

                      “Adam and Yves” is also “out”, as it were.

                    • Rosetinted

                      Rob You don’t disappoint – up to your usual high standard of pointless rubbish.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.1.4

              It is still possible to manufacture non-edible goods for export in NZ…

              No it’s not. All the countries we can export to can produce the same stuff cheaper than buying it in NZ and then transporting it to them.

      • Saarbo 9.1.2

        Spot on CV.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      Surely that is just showing a re-adjustment towards what we do best (growing food).

      That’s true of less than ~7% of the population. The rest of us are better at doing other things.

      If you are like most people in NZ, you could probably put your hand up and agree that your own purchasing choices have been responsible for the decline in manufacturing of non-edible products.

      Nope, what has caused the decline in manufacturing in NZ is the delusional economic system that we’ve been following for the last three decades. If we hadn’t followed that and gone in a different direction which encouraged re-training and supported our own businesses we would be able to produce most of what we use today in NZ from our own resources.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Exactly. And by the choices that people such as you and me make in our purchasing habits.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Forget about the little people mate, the Government spends $80B a year, that’s a big spender whom you need to be focussing on. Buying NZ made from NZ workers might be a start.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        I think NZ businesses should have every opportunity to bid for government work. If the government has more experiences such as it did with the trains purchased from China, then they might think more carefully about buying Kiwi next time.

        If you want to insist that the NZ government should only purchase from NZ businesses, then to be consistent, you should also argue that NZ businesses shouldn’t be allowed to do work for other governments. If that were the case, the net effect might well be worse for NZ.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Oh stop putting up silly hypothetical logic tests mate, this is about helping NZ workers and NZ citizens – that’s the job of our Government isn’t it? We all knew National was making an ideological decision with its rolling stock purchases, I’m glad you recognise that was the wrong decision for the nation and for those manufacturing workers.

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.1.1

            Is it the “hypothetical” or the “logic” part you don’t like? 🙂

            However, its not hypothetical. If we set up barriers to overseas companies competing for our work, then governments in those countries would do the same against our businesses. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a bubble without consequences.

            • tracey 10.1.1.1.1.1

              when a trend sees people displaced from work and the govt trend is to prevent people displaced from work getting support until they find another job(which you accept based on above that would require retraining in another industry), what happens to society then? Will more businesses be broken into by thieves for example, and will those businesses demand the police or others step in to assist them. Speaking of job losses as trends and industry difficulties as trends seems to assist the numbing down of the broader issue, and that is when people are displaced from work all of society is impacted and rarely for the better.

            • Rosetinted 10.1.1.1.1.2

              ts
              Why let the overseas companies compete? Just put it out to our skilled workers with a constant monitoring that loose practices aren’t boosting the costs of projects. The understanding would be that they have to do the job well and at a comparable cost to that expected overseas, or the jobs would be open to tender to overseas companies. It doesn’t have to mean that shoddy or inefficient practices would result from getting NZ to be capable of doing most things done elsewhere in the world.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1.3

              If we set up barriers to overseas companies competing for our work, then governments in those countries would do the same against our businesses.

              Uh, yeah? And? That’s what they’re doing now to look after their own economies, and we’re acting like naive idiots taking it in the face.

              Unfortunately, we don’t live in a bubble without consequences.

              The destruction of our manufacturing industry is the consequence we are staring at mate, so I think we realise that.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1.4

              If we set up barriers to overseas companies competing for our work, then governments in those countries would do the same against our businesses.

              There’s a problem with that logic – all the other governments have legislation that encourages them to buy local. We’re the only ones that don’t.

        • McFlock 10.1.1.2

          If you want to insist that the NZ government should only purchase from NZ businesses, then to be consistent, you should also argue that NZ businesses shouldn’t be allowed to do work for other governments. If that were the case, the net effect might well be worse for NZ.

          But that’s bunk – it’s like saying that because I’m the only one allowed to sleep in my bed, then “to be consistent” I’m not allowed to sleep anywhere else. Or because I buy coffee from a particular cafe, I should be their only customer.

          Nope. All the government needs to do is say that if an equivalent product is produced in NZ for a comparable price (yes, I’d probably bung in a bit of a fudge about price, to be looked at on a case by case basis if the issue is in doubt – no point spending $50mil instead of $2mil), then they should use the NZ product. Simple as.

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.2.1

            Nah. Your analogy is not quite correct. If you believed that you were the only one allowed to sleep in your bed, then you shouldn’t complain if you try to sleep in someone elses bed and they kick you out because they believe the same.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Who is complaining?

              Every country slants the playing field in their own favour. You’re not naive enough to believe otherwise.

              • McFlock

                Who is complaining?

                That’s the fucking point.

                I agree that if someone doesn’t want me to sleep in their bed, then fair enough. I’m not allowed to sleep in their bed.

                But if I stay over at someone’s house, I might sleep in one of their beds (or a couch. Or, in one case, a decorative garden cart that was surprisingly comfortable). But even if I’m sleeping in someone else’s bed, it’s perfectly okay for me to refuse to let someone else sleep in my currently unused bed (although it might be a bit dickish depending on the circumstances).

        • Rosetinted 10.1.1.3

          Are you talking about what’s good for NZ business ts. What’s this pathetic comment about it not being right to want to do work for other governments. One minute you are talking about competitive markets, the next you start nit-picking about irrelevant approaches. We want to be able to do more than survive in NZ as we don’t have a lot of money we have to think hard. I think somebody clever and capable and successful said something like that.

  11. Macro 11

    Again we have to sheet this problem back to where it rightly belongs – Douglas and his magic wand of disestablishing tarriffs and import quotas. FTA’s are an anathema to manufacturing in any developed economy – such a NZ was in the 1980’s. Unilaterally opening our boarders to any manufactured crap, simply because it was cheaper resulted in – and continues to cause – massive cut backs in the manufacturing sector. We simply exported our jobs overseas, and imported poverty. Douglas et al were nothing but economic terrorists.

    • Rosetinted 11.1

      Macro
      Trouble is when we’re so top heavy with dairy (carrying milk churns on our heads!) the economy then gets unbalanced, with so much milk being exported, we reciprocate with trade purchases. So as I see it the country’s economic health has been undermined by the farmer politicians and dairy connections so they can do the business they want, and devil take the hindmost. By importing from other countries also we can get leverage for the suggestion that they should allow our imports in, or more in the quota, or at a lower tariff.

      • Macro 11.1.1

        NZ has always been top heavy with exporting primary produce. It always has and always will be . It is false hope to place our trust in dairy. We need less dairy not more, and NZ will pay for our over exploitation of our land resources in the not too distant future when the climate bomb that is currently building up in the oceans is released. (The oceans are presently heating at the rate of 3-4 Hiroshima bombs per second). The ensuing drought that will result when the ENSO shifts from a predominantly La Nina phase to El Nino will not be pretty and dairying will be the last thing our country will be doing.
        In the past NZ manufactured almost everything it required from clothes to trains to tires and wine bottles we imported the raw materials we needed and lived according to our budget. All that disappeared when Douglas opened up our boarders to anyone who wanted to dump stuff on us.

        • Rosetinted 11.1.1.1

          Macro +1 I couldn’t believe that the Manawatu (I think) council is setting a lhigh limit on nitrates in river water because they have decided that it is phosphates? that do the most damage. And they have got some figures together that show it doesn’t increase algal bloom beyond the usual. They are preparing for a dairy and agricultural demand that they expect to happen. Some of these councils must be stacked with wall to wall cowpat heads.

    • ropata 11.2

      exactly Macro.

      we can thank china for random crap at the warehouse, and local retailers going bust

      we can thank japan for cheap imported cars for teenagers to hoon around in

      we can thank the usa for mega malls and disgusting fast food franchises

      we can thank Aussie for ansett, crappy frigates, and trying to block NZ fruit

      we don’t have a railway network or coastal shipping anymore either thanks to deregulation

      and we can thank Milton Freidman for cheerleading global capitalism and injustice

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        but the more cheap shit we have, the happier we are with our lives! Haven’t you noticed that amongst people you know?

      • xtasy 11.2.2

        There are some excellent boutique dairy products now found here and there in NZ, like camembert cheeses. There are some rather good wines and boutique beers made here now, there are ideas in some corners, some inventions, some potentials, and I bloody ask myself again and again, what the hell is wrong with this country, and by that I mostly mean the people? Many products could be made here, for sure.

        France exports quality products and has a name for it, so does Italy, Germany, Sweden and once did the UK, so one can develop high quality products and earn a good living for a country and people.

        Why the hell is the government not setting up a Japanese style smallish MITI organisation, and provide finance to develop, to grow and promote NZ business, and bond them to the NZ state and people, so that future growth and incomes are secured?

        Why the damned hell did the too indifferent, or impotent NZers stand back and let Friedman, Douglas, Richardson and the filthy self serging business oligarchs (partly of their own making) take over, to reap and waste, to ruin most, to degrade, to disown, to disgrace and destroy?

        That is what happened to your bloody country.

        But with politics circling always around petty issues, with the PC business agenda, with politics of agendas, with serving certain lobby groups and forgetting the bigger picture, this country has lost its way.

        We have others come here and take over, and that is a fact, just look around you. So where is “Kiwi” spirit, courage, solidarity and more, I see NONE of it, I am sorry, this is a lost place to me, New Zealand.

        Something big and radical should happen, but the NZ mentality does never allow it. Get a wake up call, thanks.

        • Colonial Viper 11.2.2.1

          The future is not in trying to copy Japan of the 1960’s nor copying Korea of the 1980’s.

          This is a new era and we must get ready an industrial and social infrastructure set for oil and resource depletion.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      +1

      Douglas and the 4th Labour government have a lot to answer for.

  12. xtasy 12

    Of course the “right” is having their argument and get away with it that there is no manufacturing crisis, as they do not differentiate between making milk powder, baby formula, getting raw logs and fish ready for export (for value added enhancing in China or elsewhere), and other manufacturing that may be more value added. They just count the total figure in one and say, hey we export more of the same to China, so we are “booming”.

    The left is fucking useless too, and I raise my voice here tonight, being totally disillusioned with “the left” in New Zealand, as you guys have not got your damned shit together, you should deliver an alternative plan that is feasible, economical and makes sense. But we get none of that, just damned bickering and sniping all the time, many here having no clue about economic basics also.

    Go and to economics 101 perhaps, before you start going on, this is the big problem with Labour, as there are only a handful that have economic wits, the rest are teachers, strong in social work or whatever, yes union advocacy, and whatever.

    If Labour does not get their shit together and present an alternative economic and social plan, do not bloody waste my and other’s time as you will never win the next election. Certainly not with a no hoper like Shearer.

    Apart from that, you can do damned more with milk, wood, fish, minerals, fruits, grapes and so on, same as with what goes on in the brains of people living here. That is the damned difference between NZ and more developed countries. And also seeing on the “Journal” of DW TV on Face tonight, in Germany industry produces about a quarter of economic output, compared to only about half of that in the UK, France and a few other countries.

    So perhaps get smarter and better, or migrate, and leave this land to a society of oligarchs reaping the profits of having serfs and slaves working for pittance to “harvest” what is “produced” and sold off cheaply.

    I fear, NZers will not solve this on their own, investment will be needed, from enterprises and countries that think more progressively and sympathetically to what is done here. It looks damned grim what I see here.

  13. Balanced View 13

    How is this supposed manufacturing crisis the governments fault? Surely NZs are “responsible” for their own purchasing decisions?

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Firstly, the Government is responsible for it’s own purchasing decisions, and this government chose to buy from Australia and from China instead of from its own people.

      Secondly, people who do not believe in the role and importance of government in leading society and an economy can kindly fuck off out of politics.

    • Rosetinted 13.2

      BV
      go and get your basic economic education first and then come on to the site with intelligent and informed comments.

      • Balanced View 13.2.1

        I challenge you on this. Basic economics has led to the current situation

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1

          Agree. Turns out that “basic economics” is fundamentally flawed, incorrect in key assumptions and results in extremely dangerous recommendations.

        • McFlock 13.2.1.2

          Nope.

          Failed government policies relating to the finance and housing markets over the last couple of decades have led directly to the situation where the dollar is too high for local manufacturers to compete locally.

          NZ “leading the way” in free trade has led to this situation.

          The government transferring wealth from the majority to the tiny minority has led to this situation.

          The government abandoning its responsibilities to every economic sector other than corporate speculation has led to this situation.

          But “basic economics” is contained only in school-cert supply and demand charts (which are still beyond your slogan-level tory faith). Nothing about the real world is basic.

  14. handle 14

    Doing so well until this: “the only part of our economy that can ultimately stop us getting deeper and deeper in debt to the rest of the world”. Our future is not factories.

  15. Gosman 15

    Do you care how many people are employed in the Agriculture or Service sectors as well?

  16. Gosman 16

    Considering the factors working against manufacturing (e.g. Historical high NZ Dollar, falling demand in major overseas markets, lack of economies of scale) I’d suggest NZ manufacturing has been doing remarkably well.

  17. Wayne (a different one) 17

    OPS! Eddie, another own goal by the Labour/Greens/Winnie and John Hatfield. Latest stats show the manufacturing sector have hit a 9 year high.

    What the hell did Labour do then between 2004 -2008 – I’ll tell you “f…k” all.

    So much for the “manufactured” mauufacturing crisis.

    • Rob 17.1

      Yep big fukin crises, we just had our best month since 2007. The facts are that basic trends in building starts , consumer confidence, business confidence etc turned a big corner in Sept last year . Since then we have started climbing back out the other side , things are starting to hum, we are back creating true jobs and not the coffee making , burger flipping and faux finance jobs that the labour govt were so proud of creating . What this shows is that labour and the greens have no connection at all to the manufacturing sector in nz. All they do is talk the sector down repeatedly whilst the hard work goes on around them . Enjoy the corporate boxes chaps you really deserve it , yeah rite .

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Good to see the next housing construction bubble is underway. Enjoy it mate, lots of cashflow.

  18. Jenny 18

    Why Can’t the Left face the climate crisis?

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Not going to happen, read/listen to John Michael Greer, Nicole Foss, and others, to find out why.

      Not only is our entire civilisation and standard of living expectations predicated on fossil fuels, but our entire political and economic elite are stuck in a paradigm of kicking the can one or two years further down the road on everything instead of actually dealing with it.

      EDIT – you’ve gotten angry in the past when I’ve suggested that the comfortable middle classes are holding back real change in order to gain more short term benefits for themselves at the expense of the younger generations, but I hold on to that view.

      As an example – just try and get all those people to give up their real estate investment portfolios of a half dozen or more rentals, to ease housing supply and entry for first home buyers. You’ll be roundly told where to stick it, and so will any government which suggests it.

  19. Colonial Viper 19

    EDIT it looks like Jenny deleted her comment that I was repklying to but I will let mine stand.

    When all the evidence point to the middle classes being the most involved in such things as environmental peace and anti racism.

    Yes of course that is true as long as those movements don’t require them to give up the income, luxuries and standard of living that they feel they deserve.

    And are these comfortable prejudices just an excuse not make a stand yourself?

    Yep, I have a policy of not trying to push back on the tide with a spoon.

    Your racist dismissal of the Arab Spring as a Western Plot

    Well let’s be specific and focus on Syria: this conflict is a geopolitical power play. It was from the start. The ranks of your good little heart eating Free Syria Army rebels are not full of local Syrians wanting freedom from Assad; they are instead full of Islamist fighters from and funded by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey, etc.

    But perhaps you mean the “Arab Spring” in Libya and in Egypt. Shit those are really working out well now aren’t they Jenny. Freedom and prosperity for the people are really overflowing in those countries now eh.

    Reminds me of that old saying….meet the new Boss…just like the old Boss. (And sometimes much worse).

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