Manufacturers are important employers in New Zealand creating many opportunities for skilled and unskilled labour.
As released in ManufacturingNZ’s election manifesto, the sector employs 250,000 people and accounts for 14% of all jobs.
In the current skills shortage environment, the sector needs the incoming government to have a cohesive strategy for addressing growing the workforce of today and in the future.
In the EMA Election Manifesto, it outlined several recommendations to close the skills and training gaps. These included:
- Applying more funding to fill the skills gaps in the trade sector and incorporate an employer-based approach - Policies need to reflect lifelong career development, including a continuation of funding and support for workplace literacy programmes; and an co-ordinated approach to managing an ageing workforce - Ensuring the immigration process is less complicated, having a greater emphasis on the points system to meet the required skills required by employers. Automatic extension of temporary work visas for sectors placed on the skills shortages list
"Our manufacturing sector is an integral part of New Zealand’s economy. It produces around 50% of our exports, makes a significant contribution to the regions, invests in plant and machinery along with investing about $450 million in research and development," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.
"While automation and developments in technology have enhanced the manufacturing sector, there is a worsening labour shortage - 65% of employers say there is, or soon will be, a skills shortage in their sector. The next government needs to address this."
Another key challenge for manufacturers is transport and infrastructure. In the EMA Election Manifesto, it outlined several areas that business wants addressed in this regard. These range from expediting critical national infrastructure, easing congestion particularly in Auckland through to reforming the resource management system.
"We need to keep ahead of the demand curve to ensure our manufacturers remain competitive. This impacts their entire supply chain, from sourcing of materials through to getting goods to market - and everything in between," says Mr Campbell.
What business needs from the incoming government is continuity around the current employment and labour relations framework, says EMA.
“Many members are raising their concerns about what will happen to workplace relations if there is a change as outlined in Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements policy,” says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.
“I urge all employers to take a good look at this policy. Within it are plans for significant change to the enterprise-level bargaining framework that has been in place for many years.”
Under the Employment Relations Act (2000) there is a clear framework for how employers and employees negotiate in good faith.
“This approach gives companies the flexibility to negotiate agreements with their workers to best meet the needs of the operation. Don’t forget, with this comes responsibilities that the employer must abide by too. If they don’t, they can find themselves facing hefty penalties along with irreparable reputational damage.
“We want a system which enables New Zealand business to remain competitive, now and into the future,” says Mr Campbell.
The EMA Election Manifesto highlighted the key areas its members wanted addressed by an incoming government. Some of the points highlighted were the need to address the Holidays Act and to ensure the principles and framework developed by the Pay Equity Working group were enshrined in the new legislation.
It also raised the need for a cohesive strategy on addressing the dynamic of the country’s ageing workforce along with closing the gap on skills and training, to help employers recruit and retain their workforce.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the prompt and unanimous United Nations Security Council Resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea.
Resolution 2375 was adopted by the Security Council earlier today, following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on 3 September.
It is the ninth Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea, whose nuclear and ballistic missile tests violate previous Security Council directives. It follows Resolution 2371, which was agreed in early August.
“North Korea has shown, time and again, that it poses a real and immediate threat to both regional and international security,” Mr Brownlee says.
New Zealand continues to condemn its provocative actions in the strongest possible terms.”
The resolution adopted today will significantly reduce North Korea’s oil imports, bans North Korea from importing natural gas and exporting textiles, and restricts the number of labourers from North Korea that will be able to work overseas and generate income for the regime. It also allows states to inspect vessels on the high seas suspected of carrying items prohibited by the sanctions regime.
The measures contained in the resolution are estimated to diminish North Korea’s export earnings by as much as USD $1.3 billion.
“This is money that North Korea will not be able to put towards its illegal nuclear and missile programmes,” Mr Brownlee says.
“These new sanctions send a loud and clear message to North Korea that its behaviour will not be tolerated by the international community and will be met with significant consequences.”
“New Zealand has identified the support that we can provide on sanctions implementation in the Pacific. We will also be undertaking prompt steps to implement the new resolution and the measures it contains.”
“New Zealand, once again, joins the international community in calling on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and turn away from its current course,” Mr Brownlee says.
A business initiative that safely disposes of hazardous unwanted refrigerants has had its accreditation as a ‘product stewardship scheme’ extended by the Government, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
Mr Simpson met with representatives of the Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants to congratulate them on the success their initiative, Refrigerant Recovery, has achieved in safely disposing of hazardous unwanted refrigerants.
Refrigerant Recovery collects unwanted man-made refrigerants from New Zealand’s refrigeration and air conditioning industries. Refrigerants from around the country are shipped to Australia where they are safely destroyed at high temperatures through a process of plasma conversion. The process is highly efficient and produces virtually no emissions.
“Refrigerant Recovery helps to reduce the risk of hazardous compounds such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) entering the environment. If these chemicals get into the environment they damage the earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to global warming. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that may be tens of thousands of times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” Mr Simpson says.
“By safely and sustainably disposing of hazardous chemicals, Refrigerant Recovery is helping to mitigate climate change and restore the ozone layer.”
Refrigerant Recovery is also helping New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under the Climate Change Response Act 1996, New Zealand has been phasing out the import of CFCs and HCFCs into the country. HFCs will be next on the agenda, and the Ministry for the Environment recently closed a consultation round on how to phase down HFCs in a response to the recently agreed Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
In 2010, the Government accredited Refrigerant Recovery for seven years as a product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. Refrigerant Recovery’s reaccreditation for the next seven years means that the Minister has recognised the scheme’s important contribution to reducing the environmental harms associated with disposing of man-made refrigerants.
Product stewardship describes the process by which producers and suppliers take responsibility for their products throughout their entire lifecycle, such as by reusing and recycling products.
New Zealand’s two-way trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was $15.2 billion in the June 2017 year, Stats NZ said today. Goods and services exported to ASEAN countries totalled $6.3 billion, and imports totalled $8.9 billion. New Zealand’s trade deficit with the combined ASEAN countries was $2.6 billion.
ASEAN, established in August 1967, had Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as original members. Countries that joined later were Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.
“Fifty years ago, we exported nearly $16 million worth of goods to the five original ASEAN countries,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said. “That’s around $160 million in today’s value.”
New Zealand imported $11 million worth of goods from the five countries in 1967 (approximately $94 million in current dollars). Two-way trade with ASEAN was $27 million (just over $251 million in current dollars), which included a surplus of $5 million (around $63 million in current dollars). In 1967, services were not included in Stats NZ’s exports and imports data. Dairy products, petroleum, and cars the main goods traded
New Zealand exported $5.0 billion worth of goods to ASEAN countries in the June 2017 year, and imported a total of $7.1 billion worth of goods.
Dairy products (including milk powder and cheese) were the main goods exported to ASEAN, followed by meat, logs, fruit, and wood pulp and waste paper. A total of $2.4 billion of dairy products were sent to ASEAN in the June 2017 year, with $524 million to Malaysia alone. Malaysia received most of New Zealand’s dairy products this year, followed by the Philippines ($474 million) and Indonesia ($400 million).
Petroleum and related products was New Zealand’s largest goods import from ASEAN in the June 2017 year. Petroleum imports from ASEAN decreased in recent years as other sources were used, such as the United Arab Emirates. New Zealand imported $1.4 billion worth of petroleum from ASEAN in the June 2017 year, half of what was imported in the June 2013 year. Most these petroleum imports came from Singapore ($982 million).
Since 2013, the value of vehicles and parts imported from ASEAN has doubled to reach $1.3 billion in the June 2017 year. The majority of these vehicles are from Thailand, where cars and trucks are made under licence for Japanese, American, and other international car makers.
In 1967, New Zealand’s main goods exports to ASEAN were dairy products, followed by frozen meat, tallow, then wood pulp and waste paper.
“Although the goods we exported to ASEAN this year were similar to those in 1967, the value and volume of this trade has increased,” Ms Kwon said. “Our main imports from these countries in 1967 were crude and synthetic rubber, kerosene, and petroleum.” Travel and transportation the main services traded
New Zealand imported $1.8 billion worth of services from ASEAN in the June 2017 year, and exported a total $1.4 billion worth of services in return.
Travel was the largest services export to ASEAN ($1.0 billion total), with personal travel to New Zealand contributing $613 million to the economy. By country, Malaysia and Singapore had the highest number of total visitors to New Zealand.
Transportation was our largest services import from ASEAN in the June 2017 year ($669 million), with Singapore accounting for most of this. Imports of transportation services also includes New Zealanders travelling to and from Singapore on non-resident airlines.
There were 1,301 flights that arrived in New Zealand from Singapore in the June 2017 year, and 1,286 flights that departed from New Zealand to Singapore over the same period. Over 23,000 New Zealand-resident travellers listed Singapore as their main destination in the June 2017 year, mostly for holidays or to visit friends and relatives.
"The National Party’s announcement today that, if elected, it will set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission should have cross party support," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.
"Establishment of such a body will bring New Zealand’s infrastructure practices up to speed with Australia, the UK, Canada and other leading countries.
"The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.
"A New Zealand infrastructure commission needs to be charged with equivalent responsibility. This would include investigating and recommending responses to our most pressing issues in housing, freshwater quality and congestion, in addition to oversight of project delivery, procurement, and the national infrastructure pipeline.
"The size of the infrastructure workload ahead means we have to make the most of every dollar spent. Having a public entity working in New Zealand's best interests and with expertise in project delivery is critical.
"National’s announcement today is focussed on leveraging private sector capital and expertise through Public Private Partnerships.
"PPPs are an important component of any rational infrastructure delivery programme, but the Commission needs to encompass all forms of project delivery, regardless of whether or not private capital is involved.
"Successive surveys by Infrastructure NZ and other evidence shows that New Zealand’s infrastructure procurement can significantly be improved and international experience shows there are billions of dollars of benefit from doing so.
"Having our best and most experienced people involved when the Government buys large and complex assets like motorways, railways, schools, and hospitals minimises the risk of mistakes and capitalises on the investment opportunity.
"It’s not only individual projects which will benefit from a new body. A clear and committed national infrastructure pipeline has for many years been an industry priority. Businesses who deliver assets on behalf of governments need to know what’s ahead and if the Commission can provide greater certainty around this it will make a big difference to investment and productivity in the sector.
"These are the reasons why Canada, through Partnerships BC and Infrastructure Ontario, the UK, through the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Scottish Futures Trust, and Australia through Infrastructure NSW and Major Projects Victoria have all picked up the model.
"Some of the greatest benefits could be realised from using the Commission to assist local government with its $50 billion infrastructure programme. Bundling council projects and supporting our smallest infrastructure providers with specialist knowledge will reduce project overruns and help provide better services at lower cost to ratepayers.
"For the Commission to be successful, it will need arm’s length independence from the Government, like the Commerce Commission or Reserve Bank, to ensure that it acts apolitically in New Zealand’s long term interests.
"A specialist infrastructure body is a really positive step forward for New Zealand. It is a bi-partisan response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and should receive cross-party support," Selwood says.
| An Infrastructure New Zealand release || September 1, 2017 |||