A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Madeleine Heffernan discusses the impacts that high Australian wages and industrial relations laws are having on big businesses. So far early indications are that this is affecting the food production industry with major food producers such as Woolworths and Heinz moving some of the operations to New Zealand. Other manufacturers such as Imperial Tobacco have also announced they will be moving manufacturing from Sydney to New Zealand.
- New Zealand has lower wages
- Heinz closed down their Australia plant at a loss of 300 jobs in favour of their Hastings New Zealand plant
- Australian manufacturing workers average weekly earning are more than Canada, UK, NZ and the US
- High wages, penalty rates and the productivity of Australian workers have come under attack in recent months
- New Zealand benefiting from a more flexible industrial relations environment
Business owner and philanthropist Dick Smith has stepped into the void left behind by Heinz closing down their tomato sauce plant in Victoria and also acknowledges the higher costs in wages and work conditions means products produced here are more expensive and manufacturing will go offshore. Australians have to be willing to spend 20cents more on Australian sauce.
If the trend continues and more manufacturing jobs are created in New Zealand we may see a few less kiwis making the move across the Tasman and may even see some kiwis return.
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