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Parliament's Finance Committee backs 'Buy NZ Made'

The Green Party is hailing the multi-party Finance Select committee's
unanimous endorsement for a 'Buy NZ Made' campaign as a significant step towards rebuilding the domestic economy in the face of globalisation.

Every political party in parliament is represented on the Finance Select
Committee. In its report on the Vote Economic Development Estimates for
2000/001 the committee recommended that "the government implement a Buy NZ Made Campaign which requires that Government departments and agencies purchase New Zealand made products and services where it is practical and cost effective to do so".

"Some commonsense is finally prevailing on the whole issue of using Government purchasing to reinforce Government policy, objectives such as reducing the trade deficit, creating jobs and fostering regional development," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"For too long New Zealand has embraced without question the globalisation model. I hope we will now see a managed approach to trade, along the lines practised by our Australian cousins. There State governments run campaigns such as "Buy Queensland First" and the Federal government funds an 80 person Industrial Supplies Office which encourages local procurement in the private sector, as well as within government agencies.

"Benefits of Buy NZ Made are clear. Our own Industrial Supplies Office (part of the Ministry of Economic Development) has commissioned research which shows for every $1,000,000 of imported goods we substitute with local product we save almost 16 jobs, reduce welfare payments by $159,000, receive an extra $118,000 in tax and boost spending power by $259,000.

In the last decade the importation of consumer goods more than doubled from $3.22 billion to $6.9 billion per annum. That means we have lost 57,729 full jobs in New Zealand because we now import goods we used to make here ourselves.

Rod Donald said he was disappointed that he could not persuade the committee to increase the funding for the Ministry of Economic Development to provide policy advice on local procurement strategies.

"To have any meaning Buy New Zealand Made needs not only a government strategy to achieve it but also more funding for the Industrial Supplies Office (to be able to meet the extra needs of Government departments as well as expanding its role to the private sector, particularly large development projects) and to give the Manufacturers Association's "Buy NZ Made" campaign a boost.

In 1999 the Industrial Supplies Office facilitated contracts worth $11.5M, equating to 180 jobs created or retained. At a cost of only $2,116 per job that is very good value for money and obviously an area where the Ministry of Economic Development should be making a significant increase in investment.

"While we don't oppose direct regional development support clearly the best way to assist New Zealand enterprises to create jobs is to open up markets for them so they can build their business with confidence. Unfortunately NZ governments have until now focussed solely on achieving that through international free trade while ignoring the tremendous opportunities at home," he said.

ends

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