Millenium Prospects Are Looking Good For New Zealand Manufacturers
“The latest WestpacTrust Analysis of Manufacturing Industries for the September Quarter shows a marked improvement in
the fortunes of New Zealand manufacturers” said David Moloney, President of the New Zealand Manufacturers Federation.
Growth in the economies of our major trading partners and the low exchange rate have had a significant role to play in
the very positive results.”
“Nearly all of the key indicators reflect a more robust recovery than previously indicated, with sales for the quarter
up 6.1 percent on the same time the previous year – the largest real increase since March 1995. Domestic sales for the
quarter underpinned the recovery – up 9.4% over the September 1998 quarter. Exports of elaborately transformed
manufactures continued to rise, up 5.7% from the September quarter in 1998.
“Only the level of investment and the falling rate of employment give cause for concern. Investment continued to fall to
a level not seen since the early 90s. The clear suggestion is, however, that investment levels may have bottomed out.
“Perhaps of most concern is the continued shortage of skilled labour despite a fall in employment in the manufacturing
sector. Ultimately, a lack of available skilled staff may prove to be the biggest problem facing manufacturers in the
medium to long term as growth continues to pick up.
Manufacturers have for some time been reporting difficulties in obtaining skilled staff. Ongoing restructuring in the
sector is not providing people with the right skills for the growth sectors within manufacturing. At the same time
overall unemployment in New Zealand has been declining.
“The Federation has already called for a thorough review of this country’s education policies to ensure skills shortages
do not pose a hindrance to New Zealand’s competitiveness.”
For further comment contact David Moloney 04 388 8355 (bus) or 04 479 6230 (pvt)