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Govt’s export plan misses big issues exporters face

15 August 2012

Govt’s export plan misses big issues exporters face

National’s new export strategy fails to address two big issues that threaten our exporters: the high New Zealand dollar and the risk to our brand posed by National’s anti-environment agenda, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.

The Building Export Markets report released today largely repackages previously announced Government policies.

“National’s plan for our export industry fails to address the number one issue our exporters are facing – the high New Zealand dollar,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“Our high and volatile exchange rate is hurting our export industry with close to half of all New Zealand export companies saying it is the biggest barrier they faced to growth.

“Our exporters struggle to compete because our dollar is over-priced and our domestic manufacturers are undercut by artificially cheap imports.

“The result has been a disaster. 25,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared under National while the number of companies exporting has stagnated since 2009.”

The Government also outlined its new plans to build our international brand around “The New Zealand Story”. Industry-targeted campaigns such as 100% Pure New Zealand will sit under the broader ‘story’.

“The National Government is recognising the value of our brand to our export economy, and the New Zealand Story is an important part of this, however its economic agenda actively undermines our clean and green brand,” Dr Norman said.

“By gutting the Emissions Trading Scheme, intensifying agriculture, and pursuing their deep sea mining agenda, the National Government is putting our $20 billion clean, green brand at risk.”

Dr Norman proposed a number of possible measures for addressing the high exchange rate but warned that there was no quick fix, hence the need for a wide public policy debate on the issue.

“We can reduce the pressure on the exchange rate and the export sector by empowering the Reserve Bank with a mandate beyond inflation to include exchange rate levels and volatility,” Dr Norman said.

“Instituting a tax on capital gains (excluding the family home) would also ease upward pressure on the exchange rate.

“And we need to ensure that profits generated from New Zealand’s resources stay in New Zealand, by restricting foreign purchases of land.

“There are smarter ways to manage our economy than the National Government’s current focus on selling our most productive state-owned assets,” said Dr Norman.

The Building Export Markets report is available at:
www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/business-growth-agenda/export-markets

Link to the Statistics New Zealand table on barriers exporters face: http://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/barriers-generating-overseas-income-statistics-new-zealand-data-2007-2011

The Green Party's plan for our economy: http://www.greens.org.nz/greenjobs

ENDS

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