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'Buy New Zealand Made' Best For Deficit, Dollar

The Green Party says the weakness in the New Zealand dollar reflects New Zealand's growing dependence on other countries.

"It's no coincidence that the NZ dollar plummeted to an all time low on the same day that our worst ever July year trade deficit was announced," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"A significant factor in the loss of confidence in the dollar is our unsustainable current account deficit. In turn, a major contributing factor to our balance of payments crisis is perpetual trade deficits as imports continue to outstrip exports.

"Imports for the year grew by 20.6 per cent, despite the NZ dollar being relatively weak for some time. A significant component of the total is finished consumer goods which were up 13 per cent to $6.9B.

"A decade ago we imported around $3.2B worth of consumer goods per year. The difference not only represents more than the total annual trade deficit but almost 60,000 lost jobs as a result of importing goods that used to be made in New Zealand by New Zealanders," he said.

"Today the Government said there is little it can do about the low dollar but we would suggest otherwise. A simple step to rebuilding domestic and international confidence in the NZ economy would be to lead a dynamic 'Buy Local' campaign by ensuring that NZ producers of goods and services have the first opportunity to supply government departments, agencies and enterprises," said Mr Donald.

"The Government already has the vehicle to lead the way: the Industrial Supplies Office of the Ministry of Economic Development. Unfortunately, despite fine words from ministers about the role of the ISO the Government has failed to increase its budget this financial year and vetoed a Green Party amendment which would have doubled the ISO's funding and increased its capacity from four to eight staff.

"The Government's commitment to supporting local manufacturers is pathetic compared to our Australian cousins where their ISO has a staff of over 80 and not only facilitates Government contracts but also links private sector businesses together," he said.

Ends

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