17 Jun 2013

Manufacturing report says sector dying

5:47 pm on 17 June 2013

A report commissioned by Opposition parties says the manufacturing sector is dying and the Government needs to change its policies if it wants to save it.

The findings of the parliamentary inquiry released in Christchurch on Monday have been labelled a political stunt by the Government, which is ignoring the recommendations.

David Shearer says the focus should be on locally-made products.

David Shearer says the focus should be on locally-made products. Photo: LABOUR PARTY

The chair of the inquiry, Cameron Moore, says current economic policies are killing the manufacturing sector and 40,000 jobs have been lost since 2008.

The report is supported by the Labour, Green, New Zealand First and Mana parties and makes 10 recommendations to the Government, including fixing the high New Zealand dollar by reforming monetary policy and giving tax credits for research.

Labour leader David Shearer says a Government procurement policy should also be adopted that favours locally-made products.

"The $30 billion that the Government contracts out in procurement should be more available to our companies so that they can build the base that will enable them to have a foundation from which to go on and export beyond that."

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the report shows a lack of knowledge of the measures that the Government is already implementing.

Mr Joyce says the Opposition parties are determined to create a crisis in manufacturing - but the real problem is that while individual firms face real challenges at different times, no crisis exists.

Mr Moore says many of the report's recommendations mirror what is standard practice overseas.