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Medical device firms have contributed more than a quarter (27 percent) of export earnings to New Zealand’s high tech manufacturing sector, according to a just-released report by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 
The high tech manufacturing sector as a whole contributed $1.4 billion in export earnings. 
Medical equipment accounted for around $379 million in exports to June 2012 and is currently showing a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent. The sector grew by $260 million in the period 2001-2011. Employment in this sector has also grown to 2,940 people from 1,610 in 2002.  
“We are delighted to see innovation and the investment in R&D paying off for companies in this sector and for New Zealand.  The New Zealand medical technology manufacturing sector is expected to double export revenue within the next 3 to 5 years,” says MTANZ chief executive, Faye Sumner. 
Ms Sumner says companies such as Fisher and Paykel Healthcare (FPH) and Mesynthes who are highlighted in the MBIE report are leaders in their field and major contributors to this export growth. FPH recorded $287 million worth of exports in 2012 for its therapeutic respiration devices. The company employs 2,600 staff. 
Mesynthes specialises in medical biomaterial for tissue repair and reconstruction, is building a new facility in Wellington and could potentially double in size by 2014.  
“Clearly Fisher & Paykel Healthcare leads the sector by some margin but there are a number of smaller medical device firms starting to show good potential as large contributors in the not too distant future,” says Sumner. 
“This is a very exciting and dynamic sector and it’s vital we ensure domestic policy relating to procurement and regulations does not stifle this innovation in New Zealand but supports this sector to reap the rewards internationally.”
MTANZ represents not only manufacturers, but also importers and distributors of medical technology used in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of disease and disability.  
New Zealand companies currently design, manufacture and export such devices as machines to manage obstructive sleep apnoea and other respiratory conditions; customised titanium hip, knee and neck implants; specialised dental technology and implants, among others. 
Glenn Baker

Professional writer/editor with 35-plus years experience - including radio copywriting, various television writing/production roles, and writing for business magazines. I have also co-owned a wholesale food distribution business.

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