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National not facing up to export challenge

“The latest export data from Statistics New Zealand paints a picture of an economy which is not paying its way in the world, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“Exports fell 9% - led by milk powder exports falling to their lowest level since August 2009. Meat, fruit, wool, and machinery exports all fell – meaning that exports in total were down a massive $323m from last year.

“In total, New Zealand’s trade deficit was $1.3bn, nearly double the figure that respected forecasters such as ANZ Bank had been suggesting.

“Clearly, the high Kiwi Dollar is hurting our exporters - as noted by the Reserve Bank last week. But Graeme Wheeler is seriously constrained in lowering the dollar by the out of control housing market. National’s failure to contain rising house prices is creating the conditions for lower exports and higher imports.

“This data is the latest sign of an economy which largely fuelled by population growth and housing speculation. The latest GDP per capita statistics show that growth is flat lining. Real disposable incomes fell last quarter and many New Zealanders feel they are not simply not getting ahead.

“National has no plan for the economy and no plan for providing the kind of long-term sustainable growth that New Zealand needs. Only a Labour-led government can deliver that change," says Grant Robertson.