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April trade figures show commoditisation of NZ economy

26 May 2014

April trade figures show commoditisation of NZ economy

The commoditisation of the New Zealand economy and our reliance on China is gathering pace, according to the latest trade figures, the Green Party said today.

While April’s Overseas Merchandise Trade data released today show a surplus, strong growth in exports of milk powder and logs and declining manufactured exports is evidence of the simplification of New Zealand's export economy under National's high dollar strategy, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said.

Annual dairy exports were up by a third and logs by a quarter, while manufactured exports fell 2.2 percent in the year to April. In the nearly six years National has been office, manufactured exports have dropped 3.2 percent in dollar terms and nearly 20 percent in real terms. Elaborately transformed manufactured goods now only comprise 13.7 percent of exports against 18.4 percent when National took office.

“New Zealand should be moving towards a jobs-rich, smarter economy. Instead, the opposite is happening, with ever greater reliance on raw products like logs and milk powder,” said Dr Norman.

“National’s big hope of wealth through oil drilling is failing, according to today’s figures. Crude oil exports fell 19.9% for the year to April. That’s a sad indictment of a failed policy.

“While the 51 percent growth in exports to China is welcome, reliance on one market and a few commodities is dangerous and makes our economy vulnerable to commodity price swings and adverse events like droughts and storms.

"National’s budget showed it has no interest transitioning towards jobs-rich, high value manufacturing. Bill English promised to rebalance the economy towards the tradable productive sector, but these numbers show he is failing.

“A Green government will champion innovation and establish institutions that steer investments towards smart, green technologies - the fastest growing sectors in the world.

“We will back this through initiatives such as the establishment of the Green Investment Bank,” Dr Norman said.

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