New Zealand’s remaining world-class manufacturers are saying today they are sick of being told by politicians that they need to work harder when they have been doing that for years, but face a huge headwind from an over-valued dollar.
Not a good time for Minister Tin-Ears, Steven Joyce, to give them that message. To add insult to injury, Joyce quotes his own business experience, running radio stations in the domestic economy – he’s never had to face the effect of the high dollar on his bottom line.
I know CEO’s like Keith Whiteley of New Zealand’s iconic manufacturer from the days when we were together on the Board of the Engineering ITO, now Competenz. He runs a world-class business. When he and others like him are prepared to speak out as they did today at the Manufacturing Enquiry run by Labour, Greens and New Zealand First it is time for everyone to listen carefully. The manufacturing sector has lost 40,000 very good jobs in the last four years of the National government’s washing-their-hands inaction.
I am optimistic that the Enquiry will produce some action no later than 2014. We can only hope that National’s lack of action or ideas does not do too much more damage to the productive economy before then.