-Dan Taylor -Trade Commissioner, Melbourne
With a reputation for innovation, niche solutions and a strong results focus, New Zealand manufacturers enjoy a solid reputation in Australia.
We also have the advantage of geography, language and legal systems, but New Zealand companies can’t be complacent, and still need to be smart operators to have the best chance of success across the Tasman.
For companies that are smart and focussed, the attraction is clear. As well as being the only market of scale where we have geographic advantage, Australia remains New Zealand’s premier trade partner.
The numbers are compelling – 23 per cent of our exports end up in the Australian market, representing NZ$10 billion annually. A quick look at the enormous breadth of the exported goods and services suggests that for almost anything New Zealand has to offer, there is a home in Australia.
Australia’s recent economic success has been underpinned by a booming resources sector, and while prices have come down from their record highs, there is still plenty of upside.
The once in a generation opportunities provided to New Zealand manufacturing businesses by the resources and mining boom remain, so long as companies focus on their core capabilities and are willing to put in the effort.
WhatÕs particularly interesting from a manufacturing perspective is that as these mining and resources projects mature, they are moving from a construction focus to a focus on efficiency and productivity – an area where New Zealand manufacturers are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities.
Investment into the sector is still strong, with $A260 billion of capital expenditure committed over the next 2 – 3 years, while export volumes are expected to triple from their 2001 levels by 2020.
This drive for efficiency and productivity gains is also being seen in other sectors of the economy, from Federal and State major infrastructure spend, through to food production and processing, and much more besides.
Driven by a high Australian dollar and strong demand for skilled labour, opportunities exist for New Zealand manufacturers that can ease the burden created by these structural shifts in the economy.
Australia is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a competitive marketplace, so a continued focus on delivering safe, effective, customer-centric and timely solutions is crucial. Without a committed presence and clear plan for Australia, companies run the risk of not capitalising on one of the better performing global economies. We’re not the only ones seeing Australia doing well, and as a consequence it is a tough, highly competitive marketplace where underperformers are quickly exposed.
NZTE recognises there are many New Zealand companies already well-established and successful in Australia. What we aim to do, along with other NZ government agencies, is to use our programmes, connections and market knowledge to accelerate market development and growth to ensure returns are optimised.
One such programme of particular relevance to the manufacturing sector is ProjectLink. ProjectLink is an online subscription service that identifies and qualifies public and private projects in the engineering, marine and building and construction industries in Australia – and having proved its worth by securing over quarter of a billion dollars in business for New Zealand companies since its inception, ProjectLink should be a key tool for kiwi manufacturing businesses looking to enter and grow in the Australian market.
For more information, see www.projectlink.co.nz
Unfortunately, too many New Zealand companies take the Australian market for granted, treating it as nothing more than a slight extension to their domestic business, which it most certainly isn’t.
While we share many similarities (which is to New Zealand’s advantage), there are also subtle, but significant variances. So how to make the most of all this? New Zealand companies need to do their homework, as they would in any market, and then execute with excellence.
It’s no guarantee of success, but it’s a big step in the right direction.