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Buy Green for Christmas - Fitzsimons

2 December 2005

Buy Green for Christmas - Fitzsimons

New Zealanders could give each other a fabulous Christmas present this year - 1600 jobs, a better environment and a fairer world, the Green Party says.

"It's such a wonderful gift to give - and it won't cost anyone a cent that they hadn't already planned to spend," Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"It would be a huge boom for Kiwi businesses if every New Zealander chose to buy locally produced goods for Christmas. Just a five percent shift from imports to local products would create 1600 new jobs.

"If we are buying imports, choosing 'fair trade' goods makes sure the benefit goes to the poor who create them, rather than middle men and owners of sweat shops.

"If we buy sustainable, we reduce the mountain of waste, help limit climate change and keep our air and water cleaner. That's got to be a great Christmas present."

A recent survey by Mastercard estimated that New Zealanders would each spend about $900 on Christmas presents, food and other items associated with the festive season this year.

"Every million dollars we spend on New Zealand-made products, rather than imports, amounts to an extra 16 jobs in this country. It also reduces greenhouse emissions from international transport. Choosing Kiwi-made goods and services also lowers our trade deficit, which will help reduce the pressure on interest rates."

Buying sustainable means:
* buying to last - products that will go on giving pleasure for years rather than falling apart or wearing out. This will reduce the mountains of waste to dispose of and save new materials
* buying energy efficient, so that appliances use less energy to do the same job, cost less to run and we burn less coal in power stations
* buying organic food, grown without toxic chemicals, which is better for our health and the environment.

"Every time we spend a dollar it is a political act. Let's make sure it supports the things we believe in and value, as well as the people we are giving to. And let's remember what we give of our time matters too," Ms Fitzsimons says.


How did we calculate 1600 jobs?

The Mastercard survey estimates total Christmas spend will be $2.7 billion.

We have no idea how much of this will be imports, or how much will be imports that could have been produced here. Those figures are just not collected.

So lets assume it is possible to switch just five percent of this total spend from imported goods to local ones. That's $125 million spent on New Zealand goods and services rather than imported ones (NZ wine rather than Aussie wine, NZ-made puddings, Christmas crackers etc, kids toys etc)

Let's assume an average retail mark up of 25 percent - then that $125 million equals $100 million of imports. The rest is local retail wages, rent, power, transport etc.

Ministry of Economic Development says every extra million we spend on NZ-made products rather than imports amounts to an extra 16 jobs in NZ. Likewise, every million spent on 'unnecessary imports' costs 16 jobs.

So that five percent shift saves or creates 1600 Kiwi jobs.

Now that is a real Christmas present!

ENDS

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