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Greens want a minister for manufacturing

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/07/2016

The Greens say they'll appoint a minister for manufacturing if they're part of the next government.

Co-leader James Shaw says it will be a cabinet post and the minister will have responsibility for the long-term interests of the sector.

The plan is to create new working groups within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

No new government department will be created and costs will be within existing baselines.

"For manufacturing to thrive and take advantage of new technologies like 3D printing, we need leadership across the whole sector now," Mr Shaw said.

"Manufacturing has few advocates within the government."

Mr Shaw said other sectors, which represent much smaller contributions to the economy, such as racing, had ministers fighting for them while manufacturing didn't.

"High value manufacturers create well paid jobs and enable us, as a country, to earn our way in the world," he said.

ManufacturingNZ praised the policy, saying the appointment of a minister would put a stronger focus on the sector.

"Manufacturing is a critical component of the economy," said executive director Catherine Beard.

"The sector is contributing strongly... New Zealand's positive export performance relies greatly on Kiwi manufacturers."

Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff says working people will support the plan.

"Increasing and improving manufacturing in New Zealand is a specific way to create more quality jobs, which is crucial," he said.

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