Govt plan misses exporters' big issues

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.