Being ambitious for New Zealand and the Bay

Column Articles
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

As a small island nation, it’s crucial New Zealand is an open and confident country that backs itself on the world stage.

And that’s exactly what this Government is working hard to achieve.

As the Prime Minister says, New Zealand can’t get rich selling things to itself. But it can grow and prosper if we build and develop strong and enduring global relationships.

Building a strong economy that attracts new investment and creates more jobs is vital to our small countries success.

A strong, growing economy encourages businesses to boost investment in new products and markets, hire more staff and pay good wages. It means New Zealanders can be rewarded for their enterprise and hard work.

A strong economy also supports better healthcare, education, and other public services New Zealanders need.

We frequently hear other political parties calling for the Government to magic up more jobs, to increase wages or to spend more on any number of things. Actually, we can’t do any of those things without a strong, confident economy.

Our role as a government is creating an environment that gives businesses the confidence to invest and grow. They can only do that in the knowledge they’ll be backed by clear and sensible government policies.

A good example is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The TPP will be New Zealand’s biggest free trade agreement, giving our exporters much better access to more than 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific. It will eliminate tariffs on 93 per cent of exports to our new free trade partners – the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru. And it’s expected to be worth at least $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand by 2030.

For our region specifically there are a number of changes that the TPP will make that will have a big impact in our community. For example, on entry into force the TPP will eliminate all kiwifruit tariffs. This will deliver real additional returns of $15 million per year from reduced tariffs equating to over $6000 per year for each grower, which in turn will flow through our towns.

I found it very disappointing that both Labour and NZ First remain opposed and don’t seem to care that this value has been hard won for local growers and deserves to be protected and enhanced.  Our future is the consumers of the world, not isolation and inward looking policies from the opposition.

Successive New Zealand governments have worked hard to achieve this for 25 years. They knew it would help diversify and grow the economy. So it really is unthinkable that any responsible government would now walk away from the TPP.

It will be positive for our country and for our future.

I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits the TPP will deliver to our exporters, businesses and to our country as whole.