Falling exports and rising imports have led to the largest annual trade deficit since July 2009, the Green Party said today.
Statistics New Zealand Overseas Merchandise Trade figures for March show there was an annual trade deficit of $2.4 billion for the year ended March 2015. This was the largest annual trade deficit since the year ended July 2009, driven by falling whole milk powder exports to China and declines in oil exports.
“A large fall in the value of our milk powder exports to China has highlighted the real vulnerability of National’s one-trick economy,” said Green Party trade and investment spokesperson James Shaw.
“The falling value of milk powder exports to China has contributed to the largest yearly trade deficit since 2009.
“After six years in Government, National has failed to diversify our export sector away from a few basic, low value-added commodities.
“High value-added manufactured exports are, in contrast, holding their own, but still only account for a fifth of all exports.
“High value-added manufactured exports and import substitution are a key part of the economic transformation New Zealand needs to build a resilient, prosperous economy and create well-paid jobs.
“The Green Party will focus on adding more value to our exports. We should be exporting high-value, high-tech goods made from the resources that we produce,” Mr Shaw said.