To successfully transition to a circular and low emissions economy, New Zealand will need to continue to rely on a vibrant metals manufacturing sector.
This high-value sector employs more than 29,000 people, primarily in small to medium sized businesses located in regional New Zealand; a major contributor to GDP and delivering across the four capitals of the Living Standards Framework.
As manufacturers of steel and aluminium products, our members are also critical enablers of the transition providing materials needed in new infrastructure, renewable energy, mass transit systems and efficient and resilient housing. These materials are also central to enabling the circular economy underpinning a sustainable future, infinitely recyclable and easily reused and repurposed.
Our members are committed to playing their part in the transition to a low-emissions and climate resilient future. Progress is being made in the sector to address carbon; for some it is extremely difficult given that there is not yet a technology enabling production of steel without carbon. For others in the supply chain it is more straight forward.
We support policy that improves certainty for businesses in making this transition. But to enable a rapid transition to a circular and low emission economy New Zealand manufacturing needs government to ensure a fair playing field relative to other sectors and relative to products manufactured in other jurisdictions.
Currently, manufacturing is poorly supported. There are over 3,000 employees in MPI serving the needs of our primary sector, compared to MBIE’s manufacturing team of around three or four people. MPI also has a programme on regenerative agriculture, with an advisory team supporting farmers to assist in their transition to a lower emission pastoral sector. There is no such support for metals manufacturing.
Significant funds are also invested in research into the primary sector of which 80% comes from the Crown. By contrast, 80% of the significant research into manufacturing is funded by manufacturers.
Further, trade policy disadvantages our members. Imported metals products are generally purchased due to lower cost and generally with little to no information on the product’s embodied carbon along with wider environmental and humanitarian impacts and stewardship.
Our concern is the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Scheme) Reform Bill places an additional burden on our members at a time when we need:
You can read our full submission here: