Large rise in meat and dairy manufacturing drives New Zealand's economy

File photo
File photo

The largest rise for five years in volumes of meat and dairy products drove manufacturing up for the second quarter in a row, according to new figures from New Zealand.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2pc in the March 2019 quarter, after a 2.4 percent rise in the December 2018 quarter. It was led by a strong 11 percent rise in meat and dairy products manufacturing.

“The volume of meat and dairy products manufacturing sales had the highest percentage rise since the December 2013 quarter,” manufacturing statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

It comes as New Zealand's National Party identified workforce issues as a 'hot topic' for the country.

The party is proposing better promotion of primary sector careers and increased vocational training opportunities and is also floating the idea of an Agriculture Visa for migrant workers and nine-month dairy farm placements under an expanded RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme.

According to Federated Farmers Dairy chair and immigration spokesperson Chris Lewis almost all dairy farm worker visas are now only for 12 months.

“We see longer visas of two or three years as far less bureaucratic and costly at a time of worker shortages.  If we moved to this, it would be a reduced workload for Immigration NZ, which would help with their backlog.”

Lewis says the first priority of the primary industries is always training New Zealanders with the right attitude to work on our farms. 

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“But with worker shortages in some regions, migrant workers are also vital to productivity and progress.  Whatever government is in power needs to give Immigration NZ the policy settings and resources to meet industry and exporter needs,” Chris says.

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