The right time is now for the Government to undertake some scenario planning for New Zealand's economic development
“A concerted Government effort to strengthen the export capability of the country’s manufacturing sector is urgently needed to compensate for the likely impact of climate change on the agricultural sector,” says Mr Dieter Adam, CE of The Manufacturers’ Network.
“Our economy remains strongly reliant on the export of primary products. Among all economic activities, however, agriculture and the further processing of agricultural products are the sectors most at peril from global warming and more frequent extreme weather events like the current heat wave.
“We need to model the quantitative impact of climate change and extreme weather events on our ability to export. We also need to explore means of offsetting this impact in order to protect our economic base and maintain employment at sustainable levels.” says Mr Adam
“It is our view that the manufacturing sector, which provides 12 percent of our GDP, has the potential to contribute strongly to picking up the slack. But we need to begin now to plan and prepare for this by identifying and then encouraging development in the industries which offer high growth potential in the new environment. We see the Government already taking some positive steps to support New Zealand's wood manufacturing sector - this effort should ideally be extended across the NZ manufacturing sector. High-value manufacturing provides exciting opportunities for regionally diversified growth on a low carbon footprint.
“This Government has shown a willingness to grapple with the issues posed by climate change. We hope it can pick up the challenge to work with us to explore policies for economic development that are based on realistic expectations of what climate change means for us all. First, however, we need to undertake some sound modelling to understand what those ‘realistic expectations’ should look like.” says Mr Adam.
This release is endorsed by the following manufacturing business organisations:
The Manufacturers' Network
Metals New Zealand
New Zealand Building Industry Federation
Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand
Plastics New Zealand
Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand