Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk

Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says.

"National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its own forecasters, with Treasury announcing the Government is expected to drive New Zealand backwards on exports as a percentage of the overall economy,” Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.

"The Government's own target aims to shift exports as a proportion of the economy from 30 percent to 40 percent by 2025. Latest forecasts say exports are moving in the opposite direction.

"Far from sprinting to the finish, the Government appears to have thrown the economy into reverse, and is backing away from the starting line.

"Steven Joyce talks a big game but once again has egg on his face. The Reserve Bank consistently warns about New Zealand's fortunes being over-reliant on the primary sector, China, foreign capital and a housing bubble.”

Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker said Government policies favouring speculation and consumption are causing underinvestment in export industries, which puts the prosperity of New Zealanders at risk.

"The failure to diversify means we will all continue to pay a premium to access capital, whether for basic housing or for business expansion.

“By 2017, after nine years of a National Government, exports will still be under 30 per cent of GDP. Meanwhile New Zealand’s external deficit will grow larger and that deficit will be plugged by selling more houses and businesses to overseas buyers.

“Steven Joyce and Bill English have delivered a Christmas present no one wants,” David Parker says.