MEActive - May 2017

12 July 2017

MEActive - May 2017

Welcome to the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association's monthly e-news, giving a series of updates on what we have been working on to make things better for manufacturers and exporters.

    • CEO Comment
    • MEAlerts - Call for submissions and information you need to know.
    • NZMEA Events
    • Media Releases - Circulated to all media by the NZMEA.
    • Media Coverage - Where we have been reported over the past month.
    • NZ Manufacturer Magazine
    • Figure New Zealand Graph

CEO COMMENT:  Get off the Grass – We need to produce more high-value goods and services more efficiently to become a wealthier nation

The latest growth figures from Statistics New Zealand and the latest OECD report review of our economy, show that while our economy keeps growing, we’re lacking in areas that can really make us a wealthier nation.

Our GDP is rising, but on a per capita measure, it is much less impressive – we need to harness our potential and work on growing our high-value productive industries to improve this. Real GDP per capita growth in New Zealand is currently below the OECD average, and remains well below what we achieved for the 20 years up to 2007, as the latest OECD figures show.

Productivity improvement is the core way to improve economic growth, incomes and wealth over time, however, it continues to lag in New Zealand.  For example, labour productivity in terms of GDP per hour worked, can be seen in the below graph from the OECD:

1. Population-weighted average for the top 17 OECD countries for labour productivity, calculated using 2010 purchasing power parity exchange rates. Source: OECD (2017), Productivity database; OECD (2017), Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth 2017.

As Sir Paul Callaghan told us many times before his untimely death in 2012 – we’re not going to grow the value of what we create every hour from having more tourists and more cows in the country; hence the title of his last book “Get off the Grass”.

To really grow our economy, we need to produce and export more high-value goods and services, and we need to do so more efficiently, increasing productivity. Manufacturing and ICT, two sectors growing more and more intertwined as digital technologies penetrate our manufacturing businesses, already are key contributors to our economy, and they primarily are the ones to turn to when we look for more high-value products and services.

The key to growth in manufacturing and ICT is innovation, and in the case of manufacturing, process innovation. There is a raft of new digital technologies coming to manufacturing, often referred to as Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things. New Zealand needs to embrace these technologies, while at the same time investing in new and smarter products, services and business models.

The OECD report provides us with some pointers for how to achieve more innovation and productivity. For example, we need to increase non-residential investment, an area we are low at by international comparison, and we need to invest more in innovation activities - again an area we fare poorly compared to the rest of the OECD.

The report recommends “More fiscal support for business research and development” – we believe that is best achieved through a general R&D tax credit replacing the cumbersome current grant scheme. But the report also points out that our corporate tax rate still is higher than most of our competitors – again a disincentive for more private investment in R&D.

It will be interesting to see whether the Government takes any note of the sobering figures and sensible recommendations contained in this OECD report. Let us hope we’re not going to squander another opportunity to really put our economy on a stronger footing.

Free Expert for a Day – a University of Auckland Initiative
We encourage you to contact the Innovative Manufacturing and Materials Programme at the University of Auckland to find out more about their Expert for a Day (E4D) Programme. This initiative offers a site visit by an appropriately selected, qualified and experienced academic or researcher from one of the faculties of Engineering, Science, or Business and Economics. For more information please see the flyer attached or you can email

The events page on our website has more information on upcoming events. Click here to view our upcoming events or see below.

Crusaders Breakfast Workshop: Industry 4.0 - Christchurch - Wednesday 5 July
The NZMEA is running a series of workshops across New Zealand entitled "Industry 4.0 - What we have learnt in Germany." Members and invited guests are invited to join us for breakfast and a special presentation workshop in conjunction with members of the Crusaders Management Team.  Click here for more information or to register.

Process Timing Workshop - Christchurch - Tuesday 11 & Wednesday 12 July
This workshop teaches the participants how to measure the time taken for the elements of the process quickly and efficiently, adjust this time using the trained rating and apply allowances for factors that are not usually captured in the timing cycle. Click here for more information or to register.

Invitation to July 2017 Leaders' Network - Christchurch - Monday 17 July
NZMEA Members are invited to attend our July Leaders' Network. The guest speaker this month is Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch. Click here for more information or to register.

Media releases submitted by the NZMEA during May. Click here to read the latest media releases.



11 May

Debt to Income Caps Reccomended

25 May

Budget 2017: Some positive moves, but little in it for manufacturers and exporters

Where the NZMEA have been reported over the past month.

Date Media Organisation Title
11 May Debt to Income Caps Recommended. Internet
11 May Debt to Income Caps Recommended. Internet
11 May Debt to Income Caps Recommended. Internet
15 May Domestic Manufacturing Sales Leading the Way – NZMEA. Internet
15 May Domestic Manufacturing Sales Leading the Way – NZMEA. Internet
15 May The value of forecasting in an uncertain world. Internet
15 May The value of forecasting in an uncertain world. Internet
15 May The value of forecasting in an uncertain world. Internet
15 May Domestic Manufacturing Sales Leading the Way – NZMEA. Internet
15 May Reserve Bank says its forecasting ability could be improved in Statistics New Zealand moved to monthly production of inflation data. Internet
17 May Precision required in RBNZ number crunching. Internet
18 May NZ Manufacturer Manufacturing’s must attend – SouthMACH 2017. Magazine
18 May NZ Manufacturer NZMEA: Monetary Policy and Financial Stability. Magazine
25 May Budget 2017: Some positive moves but… Internet
25 May DEMM Budget 2017: some positive moves, but little for manufacturers & exporters. Internet
26 May Barry Coates speaks in the House on the Trade Amendment Bill. Internet

Click here to read the latest edition of NZ Manufacturer Magazine online for free.

The NZMEA has been approached by Doug Green, editor of NZ Manufacturer magazine.  Doug is wanting to write articles under a section called Rural Manufacturing. If you are outside of the main centres or related to rural sectors and would like to be interviewed for an article please contact the NZMEA and we will pass your details on to Doug to contact you directly.



The above graph shows multifactor productivity growth per year for the goods-producing industries.  Multifactor productivity is a measure that includes both labour and capital productivity. Results are mixed over the last two decades, and over the last decade, productivity growth has been particularly low.  This is a key area that we need to focus on and invest in to catch up with our competitors. 

For more graphs related to manufacturing and exporting, as well a large collection of data on New Zealand presented in a simple visual way, visit