9 Jun 2014

Greens advocate digital technology

7:18 pm on 9 June 2014

The Green Party says developing digital technologies like 3D printing could pick up a struggling manufacturing sector.

The 3D printer allows the creation of shapes older technologies can't produce.

The 3D printer allows the creation of shapes older technologies can't produce. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The sector has lost 40,000 jobs since 2008 due to cheaper competition overseas and the high value of the New Zealand dollar.

Information and technology spokesperson Gareth Hughes said on Monday digital manufacturing offers new economic opportunities. He said 3D printing allows designers to imagine shapes that would be impossible to create through older techniques.

Mr Hughes said the British government predicts that 3D printing could be a $100 billion sector by 2020.

New Zealanders should be actively designing those products, he said, and a taskforce should develop a strategy for digital manufacturing.