The growth of New Zealand\'s manufacturing sector remained slowed last month, but consolidated its expansion over the first half of the year, according to the latest performance of manufacturing index (PMI) out Thursday. The monthly BNZ-Business New Zealand PMI for June was 54.7, making it the highest June result since 2004, on a scale where above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction. Although it was down 4.3 points from May, it resulted in an average reading of 55.7 in the first half of the year, which compared with 49.6 for the previous six months. Business New Zealand executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said the June result indicated the sector was in better shape than it had been for some time. \"New orders and production continue to hold up, which is a key element for overall growth in the sector. Also, employment has now been in positive territory for three of the last four months, while comments from exporting manufacturers report continued steady demand for their products,\" Beard said in a statement. All five of the main sub-indices were in expansion for June, with production at 55.5, new orders at 55.1, employment at 51.9, deliveries at 55.4 and finished stocks at 52.7.