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The manufacturing sector continues to decline under the National Government's economic watch, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
The BNZ/Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) released today shows the sector is declining, registering the lowest July result since 2008. Employment in the sector dropped to its lowest result since October 2009.
"Under National, 25,500 manufacturing jobs have disappeared and its contribution to GDP has fallen from 15 per cent in 2008 to 13.5 per cent in 2012," said Dr Norman.
"The latest indications are that the sector is still heading in the wrong direction.
"National's economic management has been a disaster leaving tens of thousands of our best and brightest to languish in poorly paid work.
"Sure, it's a good time to be a casino owner or a foreign-owned mining company as the Government will lavish support on you, but National's economic strategy is not helping manufacturers who create some of the best paid, highly skilled jobs in our economy.
"An economic strategy based around gambling and resource extraction will not create a smart green economy."
Dr Norman proposed a number of possible measures to address the long slow decline of manufacturing in New Zealand.
"Government procurement should focus on buying New Zealand giving local manufacturers the strong base they need to expand into overseas markets," Dr Norman said.
"However, the Government's new procurement policy announced yesterday will make that harder.
"Our high and volatile exchange rate is hurting our manufacturing export industry. We can reduce the pressure on the exchange rate and the manufacturing sector by empowering the Reserve Bank with a mandate beyond inflation to include exchange rate levels and volatility.
"Instituting a tax on capital gains (excluding the family home) would also ease upward pressure on the exchange rate and direct capital tied up in property into manufacturing.
"There are smarter ways to manage our economy than National's slow gutting of our productive sectors," said Dr Norman.
The Green Party's plan for our economy: