ConnectMe - February 2017

8 February 2017

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Industrial Policy in 2017
Industrial Policy is starting to move towards the forefront of policy priorities again in some western countries. The UK, under the new leadership of Theresa May, has proposed a new industrial policy, and the new Trump administration has shared a similar sentiment, though whether a coherent plan will emerge and what it will look like is less certain. This comes as a response to the perception that the West has lost its industrial base, and the jobs that go with it, as successive countries especially in Asia successfully embark on their journey from predominantly agrarian to industrial society and enjoy the wealth created en route.

A recent report from the UK entitled “Building our Industrial Strategy”, outlines their aims as: “The objective of our modern industrial strategy is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.”
As a quick summary, the UK’s proposed industrial strategy is made up of ten main “pillars”, which are: Investing in science, research and innovation, developing skills, upgrading infrastructure, supporting businesses to start and grow, improving procurement, encouraging trade and inward investment, delivering affordable energy and clean growth, cultivating world-leading sectors, driving growth across the whole country and creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places.
In the U.S., President Trump campaigned on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America that were lost to countries like Mexico and China, while also casting doubt on the U.S’s position on free trade.

We have not seen any real plan to make this growth in jobs happen, and there is good reason to be sceptical of the claims to bring jobs back, at least in the way he describes. This is not to say a country could not increase the number of jobs in the productive and manufacturing sectors, it is just likely that the new jobs will be different to those that have been lost. New jobs are more likely to be highly skilled and not necessarily in the exact same areas in the past – New Zealand has already seen this with many of our manufacturers becoming more niche and competing in other ways than simply price.

In the New Zealand context, for example, we could not bring back jobs in car manufacturing that existed in the past – we can, however, build other parts of our productive sector where we still remain competitive. To achieve this, we need a coherent policy that puts focus on the productive sector of our economy, and manufacturing remains a core component of this, giving us the capability to commercialise skills and innovation, both in product and process.

We also need to understand how technological change will change how industry operates and what jobs and skills are needed. Part of the equation, as described in the first pillar of the UK industrial policy, is investment in science, research and innovation, so we can create and dominate new niche areas, while building our capability to create more high-value and complex things. The second pillar, developing skills, is also hugely relevant in New Zealand – manufacturing and the productive economy cannot be successful without talented and well skilled people.

What we need as a very first step, however, is what apparently has occurred in the UK. The government recognising the importance of having a highly productive manufacturing sector as a core part of the economy, and accepting a role in protecting and growing that sector. Next step then is a plan that lays out how government and industry work together towards a common goal. So far we have seen little of this in New Zealand. Maybe with other countries setting an example – and the UK is by far the only one – the NZMEA can convince the New Zealand government to change its approach here – we’ll certainly try.
By Dr Dieter Adam, CE of the NZMEA

Legislation to Come into Effect 1 April 2017:

Increase in the Minimum Wage
On the 24 January 2017 the Government announced an increase to the minimum wage to take effect on 1 April 2017.

For more information visit:

Events Coming Up:

Invitation to Leaders’ Network - Monday 20 February, Christchurch
Members are invited to attend our first Leaders' Network for 2017. This month’s event is an opportunity to meet and network with your manufacturing peers over refreshments with Henry Lane of Corvecto as our guest speaker. Henry will be offering a presentation and demonstration of Virtual Reality.
We encourage members to attend our Leaders' Network sessions. Discussing problems and successes within industry is a great way to learn from the experience of others.  These sessions are held at no charge and provide an opportunity to network and share ideas over refreshments with your peers.

Date:  Monday 20 February.
5:00pm (for a 5:15pm start) to 6:30pm.
RSVP: By Wednesday 15 February 2017.
Venue: BNZ Partners Building, Waimak Room, 5 Sir William Pickering Drive, Russley, Christchurch.
Cost: No charge, but registrations are essential.
Parking: Free parking available at rear of building.
Register: Online at or email

Supervisor Training - Job Relations (JR) - Two Day Programme Tuesday 28 February & Wednesday 1 March, Christchurch
Job Relations (JR) teaches managers how to develop and maintain a relationship that will engender trust and cooperation from their work groups, prevent many problems from arising, and minimise the impact of those that do arise.
This two day workshop will teach a proven routine for handling problems when they do arise, showing managers how to get the facts, weigh options, make decisions, take action and check results, with a focus on the outcome being to help service or production.

Date: Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 March.
Time: 8:30am - 5:30pm. RSVP: By Wednesday 15 February 2017.
Venue: BNZ Partners Building, 5 Sir William Pickering Drive, Russley, Christchurch.
Cost: NZMEA Member Price is $1,350.00 +GST | Non-Member $1,550.00 +GST
Parking: Free parking available at rear of building.
Register: Online at or email