Trade and innovation laying a solid foundation for our growing economy

Column Articles
Thursday, September 8, 2016

National’s focus on innovation and developing trade ties is solidifying growth in the regions and delivering higher incomes for New Zealand families.

This month we played host to 16 Pacific nations in Christchurch to negotiate the final terms of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) agreement. The Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the world and New Zealand is uniquely placed to take a leading role in pushing that economic growth. PACER Plus aims to create jobs, raise standards of living and encourage sustainable economic development in the Pacific by encouraging free trade in the region.

Taking a leading role in economic growth and sustainability in the Pacific is part of our plan to deliver solid economic growth and higher incomes for New Zealanders. Much of our work in the region focuses on the sustainability of the region’s seafood industry and we are using our expertise to drive innovation in the industry.

Seafood exports reached nearly $1.8 billion for the year to June – 15 per cent more than the previous year. But it’s no longer enough to just produce the best. You also need to be the best producer. Consumers want to feel good about what they are buying.

That’s why the Government and industry are co-investing in the Primary Growth Partnership, including the Precision Seafood Harvesting and the Mussel Spat programmes to create a better, more sustainable industry. Working with the sector we are committed to ensuring our seafood industry is not just the best, but the most sustainable too. 

The industry is benefitting from this year’s Budget package to support innovation. We are investing up to $25 million over three years to support the establishment of new privately-led Regional Research Institutes to encourage growth outside of our major cities.

Along with our ultra-fast broadband programme, this package is laying the foundation for an expected 3.4 per cent growth rate over the next two years and has helped lift wages by 25 per cent since 2008.

It’s a clear sign focusing on building international trade relationships and building a solid, growing, innovative economy is delivering real results for families all over New Zealand.