Fall in exports shows need to focus on value not volume

New Zealand needs a new economic strategy that grows the value of our exports because National is taking the economy in the wrong direction, the Green Party said today.

Statistics NZ data, released today, shows that revenue from goods exports fell for the second year in a row in 2016.

“National has built an economy based on cheap commodities like milk powder and meat, and now we’re paying the price,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The quantity of dairy exports hit a new high but the amount of money we got for that quantity continued to fall – clearly we need to be chasing higher value exports not just more volume.

“National’s economic plan seems to be to allow the runaway housing market create the illusion that our country is getting richer on paper, while actually letting our exports languish.

“Not only has the pursuit of more milk powder made many of our rivers unswimmable, the evidence is mounting that it isn’t helping our economy either.

“The value of oil exports fell by almost 20 percent, at the same time as big oil companies gave up exploring, further showing how National’s fossil fuel strategy has failed.

“At this rate we’ll never meet Steven Joyce’s target of exports reaching 40 percent of GDP by 2025.

“We’ll bring back tax credits for research and development, to help Kiwi businesses find ways to add value to their products.

“The Government can’t control the prices our farmers get for their exports, but it can help diversify the economy so that we’re not so exposed to swings in commodity markets,” Mr Shaw said.

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