The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“The biggest driver has been the fall in dairy exports - 13.5 per cent in the last year and 29.2 per cent in the month of March.
“That shows the danger of having a one-trick economy, so reliant on dairy exports. The dairy downturn is having a real impact but Bill English is too out of touch to realise it.
“While value-added exports such as pharmaceutical products, optical and medical equipment and electrical equipment all rose they are far too small compared to dairy to offset the problems in the rural sector.
“National needs to stimulate and diversify the economy to counter the dairy downturn. He must ensure new industries and businesses are encouraged to flourish and existing ones have incentives to add value. Infrastructure investment is needed now.
“In 2102, the Government set a goal to increase exports from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025. The reality is that as a country we are going backwards and exports are just 29 per cent of GDP.
“The Government’s approach to the economy shows they are becoming out of touch with middle New Zealand’s concerns. The Government needs to be a partner in order to give all New Zealanders the opportunity to get ahead,” says Grant Robertson.