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Four opposition parties are preparing to hold their first round of public submissions into the state of the country’s manufacturing.
Public submissions are now being taken ahead of the first day of hearings, which is likely to take place at Parliament in the last week of January – just before Parliament sits for the first time this year.
Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and Mana are holding the inquiry into what they label a “crisis in manufacturing” after National’s decision last year to block a motion to refer the issue to a select committee inquiry.
Labour leader David Shearer says manufacturing is in trouble. He claims 40,000 jobs have been lost and more than 1000 manufacturing companies have closed their doors in the last four years.
“This is a crisis that is leading to more unemployment, lower export earnings, increased dependency on imports, higher international debt, and, ultimately, a poorer New Zealand.
"The crisis is hammering communities from South Auckland to Bluff, from Kawerau to Greymouth,” Mr Shearer says.
Last August New Zealand First leader Winston Peters called on cross-party support for his members’ bill to amend the Reserve Bank rules to boost the “struggling export sector” and focus less on inflation control.
“Amendments to the Reserve Bank Act to allow it to pursue a balanced economic policy supporting growth, exports and employment are a vital first step,” Mr Peters says.
Green party co-leader Dr Russel Norman says the country’s future is in smart, green high-value manufacturing but government policy is needed to achieve it.
“New Zealand urgently needs economic policies which support export-led growth. It is the only path to build a lasting prosperity and escape our international indebtedness.
A report, collating the oral and written submissions, will be published soon after the inquiry.