New Zealand's textile, clothing and footwear industry has great potential, but low export competitiveness, a shortage of trained and motivated staff, and a lack of key information are holding it back says a new report.

Prepared for Industry New Zealand by economic development specialists Burleigh Evatt and the Institute of Economic Research, the report, 'Breaking with Past Patterns of Uncompetitive Behaviour,' identifies the need for government agencies to improve co-operation and understanding of customer needs, competitors and supply chain management.

Speaking at a meeting of industry and government officials in Wellington, Industry New Zealand chief executive Neil Mackay said that significant parts of the sector have great growth potential helped by a projected 50 per cent leap in the global trade of textiles, including clothing, over the next four to five years.

According to the report, strengths include high-end of women's fashion, industrial workwear, uniforms and outdoor sports and leisurewear, coupled with a reputation for quality, quick delivery and reliable service.

New Zealand's textile, clothing and footwear industry contributes annual exports of $520 million, and employs more than 27,000 people.