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Government announces "New Zealand Story" to help meet export targets

08-15-2012 14:19 BJT

WELLINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government announced Wednesday that it will create a "New Zealand Story" to help brand the country and its products in an ambitious project to boost exports.

The "New Zealand Story" was one of the initiatives outlined in the government's Building Export Markets progress report launched by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, Finance Minister Bill English and Trade Minister Tim Groser.

"Businesses have been telling us of the need to better tell the 'New Zealand Story' overseas. Smaller exporters particularly emphasize that it is New Zealand's reputation that gives them their initial market entry point as they are too small individually to secure brand recognition for their product or service," Joyce said in a statement.

New Zealand's international profile focused mainly on its beautiful landscape, but its exporters also needed to be recognized abroad for attributes like high quality of goods and services, innovation and fresh ideas and the country's indigenous Maori culture, Groser said in the statement.

Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Education New Zealand will lead the development of the story, working with public and private organizations, they said.

"A compelling New Zealand story that pulls together all the elements of what makes our country unique is essential to assist the future growth of our businesses, jobs and our country," Groser said.

The Building Export Markets report confirmed the government's target to increase the contribution of exports to the economy from 30 percent to 40 percent of GDP by 2025.

"It is only through exporting that New Zealand, with a small domestic market, can deliver the growth and productivity required to enhance the wealth of our country and create more and higher paying jobs," English said in a statement.

Joyce said the report highlighted the significant shift in economic power from the West to East that was expected to occur over the next 20 years.

"Half a billion people in Asia earn what we call 'middle incomes.' By 2020 that will treble to 1.7 billion. And by 2030, 3. 2 billion middle income people will live in Asia," Joyce said.

The business lobby group, Business New Zealand, welcomed the report, saying the government had set an "aggressive" export goal.

Chief executive Phil O'Reilly said in a statement the report was a reminder of how much had been achieved over the last four years, including exports to China growing 160 percent and the value of overall exports growing more than 4 percent a year, despite the global financial crisis.

However, political opponents branded it as hype and said the government was ignoring real obstacles to New Zealand exports.

Economic development spokesperson of the main opposition Labour Party, David Cunliffe, said the government's main idea amounted to some "nice photos and a pretty guide" to give to businesses.

"All they've come up with is: write a story about New Zealand, provide some photos and guides to sell it and provide it to business. It sounds like a school project," Cunliffe said in a statement.

The opposition Green Party said the export strategy failed to address two big issues that threatened exports: the high New Zealand dollar and the risk to the national brand posed by the government's "anti-environment agenda."

"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," Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said in a statement.

By gutting the country's Emissions Trading Scheme, intensifying agriculture, and pursuing a deep sea mining agenda, the government was putting the country's "clean, green brand" at risk, he said.



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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