If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.
“Our exporters are struggling to compete overseas because the overvalued dollar is being pushed up by interest rates that are being kept higher than needed to tackle Auckland’s rampant property bubble.
“In normal circumstances next week’s OCR review would see interest rates going down resulting in our exporters who are up against the highest rates in the developed world getting a break. But the Reserve Bank is cornered by the Government's incompetent handling of Auckland's out of control house prices. Rates won’t drop.
“With merchandise exports dropping 13 per cent in February compared to last year, New Zealand exporters are being hit by the double blows of high interest rates and the higher exchange rate that results.
“Next week's news will again be bad for exporters. Merchandise trade figures will be further proof the Government’s mishandling of Auckland housing is hurting our exporters and adding a chill to early winter in the regions.
“Spin-master-in-chief Steven Joyce’s response to New Zealand's exports dropping as a percentage of GDP to under 30 per cent was to lower his previously heralded trade target of increasing exports from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of GDP.
“It’s time for National to admit that Auckland's housing crisis is hurting our exporters, and the regional economies that generate them,” says David Parker.