New Zealand now finds itself in a position which means that it can change its economical focus going forward, and better plan for the future.
I have been saying for a long time that us as a nation has tended to have an import focused economy, this shouldn’t be the case we need an export focused economy and value add exports need to be promoted better. I question the ability to export raw products such as whole logs, live stock, where is the value for New Zealand in doing this? Turn the logs into useable materials here in NZ before exporting, whether it is timber, plywood, furniture, or other. This would mean that the value of the exports is higher and that New Zealanders are employed to process the log into whatever.
The current world climate has also halted immigration, international tourism, etc, this means that there has been a huge hole in our economy, this is not because of lockdowns, internally, but because their is a lack of tourists, or new residents moving to New Zealand, this latter part maybe offset somewhat with the amount of Kiwis returning to NZ. Tourism is marketed to us kiwis by Wellington as an Export market, this is simply not the case. Our exports are continuing as per normal, and in some cases are actually doing better in this current climate. Tourism is infact an import, you need the tourists to arrive here first and foremost. We have put alot of eggs in that basket, and under the previous National Government and even under the current Labour Government, we have seen a push for regions to change their focus to tourism. Covid-19 has actually proved to us that this is not the way forward and we shouldn’t be changing to that focus, not alone anyway. We can still develop tourism markets, although it is going to be along time before we are back to 2019 levels of tourism, whether or not our borders are opened to the general public again. World travel may not be the same for 10 years or more, but it is likely to bounce back eventually.
Whilst we have changed tack and focus to tourism rather than primary exports, over the last decade or 2, our biggest money earners, and exports have suffered. If our economy was as good as central government has suggested all the time, our regions would be booming, however that is not the case. Our regions are full of resources, Farms, Forestry, Fishing, Mining, etc. and yet they are left to their own accord and turning into ghost towns as people flock from the regions because these industries are all neglected in an import focused economy.
The last 3 years has seen some growth in the regions throughout the provincial growth fund, however that doesn’t solve the issues in the first place, it just provides funding and new opportunities in those regions.
We have the opportunity to be more futuristic, more sustainable, Clean and even green, but we need to change for the future, instead of turn to the past.
I think both major parties are missing this boat, National already indicating returning to the past, Labour seems to be willing somewhat but reluctant to rattle the status quo.
It is kind of disappointing and we are heading for major amounts of debt, we do need to change our thinking somewhat when it comes to the economy.
Too much power given to international corporates, Banks etc which are based overseas, this is also giving an unfair disadvantage to New Zealand’s money makers. Trickle Down economics doesn’t work, it creates greed, and creates a bigger gap between rich and poor New Zealand.
As other countries turn to Cleaner, Greener, more sustainable practices, we can’t afford to be left behind, otherwise, our products may not be in demand, or may not be of much value. New Zealand’s seafood sector (Hoki in particular) is seen as one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. Other industries could follow suit.
Published by D Blair, Christchurch