Good economic growth

March 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

Strong growth in saw gross domestic product () rise 0.9 percent in the December 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Manufacturing activity grew 2.1 percent, driven by increases in food, beverage, and tobacco, and machinery and equipment manufacturing. Manufacturing activity is now at its highest level since March 2006.

And Labour/Greens/NZ First/Mana’s manufactured manufacturing crisis receives another death blow.

Dairy farming and dairy product manufacturing both fell this quarter, after strong increases last quarter, when production rebounded from the drought earlier in 2013.

So those who claim the economic growth is all about dairy, are wrong.

Also Labour have been saying is in such dire straits that it needs all sorts of tax breaks and incentives, plus 1,000 long-term unemployed to be working in it (surely a nomination for a Darwin Award for policy, considering the already far too high accident rate). So what has happened to primary product exports in the GDP? They’re at $552 million, up from $495 million a year ago – an 11.5% increase!

Also if you look at the long-term series in constant prices for forestry and logging, the GDP in 1995/96$ was $1.604b for 2013. In 2008 it was $1.199b so that’s 33.8% higher!

Also the MPI series on log exports shows they were only $711 million in 2008 and today are $2.35 billion.

I guess Labour will claim that we should be making more products here, rather than exporting logs, but you know what – you sell to match demand. If the demand is for logs, then you sell logs. If the demand is for wooden tables – you sell wooden tables.

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44 Responses to “Good economic growth”

  1. radvad (747 comments) says:

    And if the customers want logs they will buy logs. If we cannot supply them because we are making tables they will get them elsewhere.

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  2. lastmanstanding (1,279 comments) says:

    The problem with the market illiterate Labour/Greens/Mana/NZFirst parties is that don’t get the first rule of selling.

    The customer is always right.

    They also don’t get the second rule of selling.

    Even if the customer is wrong the customer is always right.

    For the members/supporters of the above parties let me explain it in simple terms.

    If your customer doesn’t like your product and can buy the same product elsewhere then they will.

    If you don’t produce what your customer wants to buy they wont buy it from you.

    Of course for those who pine for the old command/control economies like the supporters/members of the above parties it comes as a bit of a shock that international customers have many many different markets to buy their goods and services from. NZ don’t have the monopoly.
    But of course supporters/members of the above just don’t get that.

    Like David Cunliffe who thinks if we make it they will buy at. Fool.

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  3. skyblue (209 comments) says:

    Labour/Greens try selling the pen all of the time, not finding out their customers needs.
    Why would you buy a pen? Bc you don’t have one.

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  4. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Maybe a bit too simplistic. This would imply one should never innovate, never create new or varied products because what we do already is selling. The question is: how can we do better and add more value for NZ?

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  5. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    You know, you lot are playing a pretty stupid game.

    Why not read the above blog and post about how great certain National policies have been, and how they have contributed towards this etc etc.

    Instead you use it as a reason to have yet another rave about the personalities of Labour and make it all about them.

    New Zealanders love the underdog and you lot are in serious risk of making Cunliffe into one. If that happens, and you push the attacks too far, then the sympathy will go to him and it will reject the National team if they come across as too smug. It’s happened before – ask Helen, and it can happen again. Keep pushing it – keep attacking people and try to win the election by default – or be seen to be the ‘bigger man’ and promote your policies, and show New Zealand not what everyone else is doing wrong, but what you intend to do that is right. But keep this up – and the tide will turn, and not in your favour.

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  6. Elaycee (4,356 comments) says:

    …you sell to match demand. If the demand is for logs, then you sell logs. If the demand is for wooden tables – you sell wooden tables.

    100% correct. It’s Business 101. But a point totally lost on Cunliffe…. he somehow thinks he can dictate to the customer base.

    And yet he wants us believe he is fit for the role of PM???

    [gulp]

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  7. labrator (1,837 comments) says:

    Why is it all of Labour’s policies are all about knowing more about everything than everyone else? You’d think they might pick up on the fact they don’t seem to know more about any thing than anyone.

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  8. srylands (404 comments) says:

    “The question is: how can we do better and add more value for NZ?”

    You are missing the point. Who is this “we”? It is not me, and I am sure it is not you, and I hope it is not politicians. Or did you mean the owners of companies that risk their money to make and sell stuff?

    The best that “we” can do if “we” is the Government is to have policies that make industries competitive, like low taxation, minimal regulation, and efficient infrastructure. That “we” should not be picking winners and deciding that the Government knows best what types of products private firms should be manufacturing.

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  9. Nigel Kearney (971 comments) says:

    If the demand is for logs, then you sell logs. If the demand is for wooden tables – you sell wooden tables.

    Consumers don’t demand logs. The demand is for wooden tables but the government has jacked up the minimum wage to such a level that it’s not economic to do anything with the logs except send them to a country that hasn’t crippled itself like we have.

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  10. NK (1,223 comments) says:

    The question is: how can we do better and add more value for NZ?

    Not the Labour Party way, that’s for sure. Jamie Whyte cleared that up a few days ago: http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/cunliffes-economic-confusion

    Money quote:

    Mr Cunliffe begins his speech by saying that New Zealand businesses produce too much low value stuff. Labour wants to “support New Zealand business in the journey from volume to value”. He then claimed that “the biggest obstacle to our exporting businesses is the consistently over-valued and volatile exchange rate. Labour has long signalled it will review monetary policy to ensure our dollar is more fairly valued to help business and lower our external balance”.

    A devalued dollar helps exporters sell more overseas by reducing the price foreigners pay for our goods. For example, if the NZ dollar fell from US$0.85 US$ 0.70, what an American pays for a NZ$1,000 widget would fall from US$850 to US$700. So Americans would buy more of those NZ made widgets. But, of course, the value of those widget sales would have fallen. The reduced exchange rate increases the volume of what we sell overseas by decreasing its value – the exact opposite of Mr Cunliffe’s goal.

    Such confusion would be funny, if only there weren’t a chance, however small, that these people will get a chance to act on their ideas.

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  11. Jack5 (5,014 comments) says:

    DPF says:

    So what has happened to forestry primary product exports in the GDP?

    These exports have surged because we are letting slip our timber processing, a big employer since 1840. Logs are going out and processing is being done in China.

    I’m told that even the dressed timber you buy at Bunnings and similar, is NZ wood that has gone to China as logs and is then returned processed. Someone may be able to confirm whether this is true.

    Regardless, with milk powder and raw logs increasingly the core of our exports, we are regressing economically away from the rational goal of becoming an increasingly diversified, highly productive, advanced economy.

    Re NK’s pointer to ACT’s Mr Black and White’s analysis: a high kiwi dollar often, even usually, means NZ exporters don’t even get the overseas orders. So they don’t earn less under a lower kiwi, but often earn nothing.

    Apart from milk powder and raw logs, and to a lesser extent things like coal and iron-ore sand, NZ exporters aren’t doing well under a high kiwi dollar.

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  12. gravedodger (1,546 comments) says:

    Mr Cunliffe an Underdog, sheesh I have seen more intelligent and smarter “drovers dogs’.
    At least they quickly learn where their next feed comes from, how to get along and do what they are told.

    The current leader of HMLO hasn’t enough smarts to find shade on a hot day.

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  13. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    Consumers don’t demand logs.

    This.

    They want logs because they can do something worthwhile with them. Anyone is able to do that worthwhile thing. The reasons we don’t do them all in NZ has nothing to do with forestry.

    The simplistic idea that we should be doing something with the logs we sell would lead to horrific outcomes if given as a mandate to a Labour government. No doubt we would sell fewer logs as well as waste resources when the government coerced us to build things with them.

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  14. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone is talking about a Stalinist-style regime where businesses are forced to manufacture things for which there is no demand.

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  15. Ricardo (54 comments) says:

    Are you sure that it is an ‘either/or’ choice? Why not make sales of both logs and wooden tables, if there is demand for both? Knowing ALL your customers, and what they want is Business 101 Elaycee, so that you then don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Makes sense really.

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  16. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    New Zealand electors
    feed the same old shit since maul fished us up.
    manufacturing, manufacturing, manufacturing.

    Political party after political party has attempted to “pick winners” and” tilt the table “whatever in favour of growing our manufacturing sector.

    New Zealand success since the GFC is based on steady as we go economic policy and rising commodity prices.
    Wake up Kiwis all the “manufacturing” is hollow election rhetoric resulting in policy that only results in. Wasting effort, Time and Money.

    After all these years of misplaced effort we are still reliant on primary industry……!

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  17. Bob (496 comments) says:

    The idea of adding value to logs is not new. At least one previous government pushed for it. At the time it was the Japanese. But they wanted to make their own wooden products. I can’t recall if it was Labour or National. Nevertheless it was a good idea which didn’t work. I can’t see the Chinese buying wooden products off us unless it is something special like swamp kauri.

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  18. NK (1,223 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone is talking about a Stalinist-style regime where businesses are forced to manufacture things for which there is no demand.

    I love debunking you lefties. Again, this was cleared up by Jamie Whyte recently also: http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/winston-peters-and-the-fish-canning-opportunity

    Money quote:

    In an interview on TV3’s The Nation today Winston Peters claimed that the fishing industry should be “New Zealandised”. He wants the government to intervene in the industry to make sure that “our fish is caught by New Zealand boats and New Zealand fishermen and is added value that is packaged here and sold here and sold offshore…

    Of course, investors sometimes miss opportunities. Perhaps fish canning really is a better investment than the alternatives. But if Mr Peters is so sure of this, why does he not start a fish cannery himself? Why instead use the coercive powers of the government to have New Zealand capital and labour directed to this business?

    Those who favour centrally planned economies need to explain why investment decisions are better made by politicians in search of votes than by investors risking their own money in search of profits.

    I will stop quoting Jamie Whyte as soon as you stop writing rubbish.

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  19. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    It is by innovating small business expanding into nitch markets that our manufacturing sector has capacity ot grow. This is not helped by centralist fiddling and crony capitalist theft and misdirection of effort.

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  20. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Keep quoting Jamie Whyte if that gives you a warm feeling all over. The New Zealand government already invests massively in helping industries to innovate and develop to meet export opportunities. Labour and National are not very far apart on that at all.

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  21. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Judith: Go get your zimmer frame and head to the rainbow room for a conference with fat fairy and his gaggle of weirdos . . . they seem to be about your mentality.

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  22. cha (3,935 comments) says:

    That’s Jamie ‘unclecousin’ Whyte mikenmild.

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  23. mandk (954 comments) says:

    mikenmild: “I don’t think anyone is talking about a Stalinist-style regime where businesses are forced to manufacture things for which there is no demand”

    Really? That’s precisely how the Greens and the people who have taken over the Labour party think. They are Stalinist to the core.

    I commented on KB before Cunliffe was elected that the Labour party is peopled by dimwits, bleeding-hearts and Stalinists, but that the Stalinists would dominate because they are smarter and tougher than the other two groups. Lo and behold…..

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  24. srylands (404 comments) says:

    “But if Mr Peters is so sure of this, why does he not start a fish cannery himself? Why instead use the coercive powers of the government to have New Zealand capital and labour directed to this business?”

    Same with the wood products issue. You don’t need a stalinist regime. You just need to subsidise some activity (like table building) because you think it is a “good thing”. That is what all this comes down to. Subsidising favoured economic activities over others. But there is no reference to “subdidies” because it is a risky word. Much better to call it a “partnership”.

    “Labour has a plan to partner with the industry to turn logs into finished products”.

    I simply disagree entirely with the concept of such a “partnership”. It is simply code for using subsidies, regulation, or other powers of the state to direct labour and capital to activities that would not otherwise be profitable.

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  25. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    But we already subsidise some industries, don’t we?

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  26. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    mandk
    There I was using ‘Stalinist’ as hyperbole, not realising the Labour Party are actually secret Stalinists…

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  27. Jack5 (5,014 comments) says:

    NK quotes Mr Jamie Black and White almost as fervently the Al Qaeda types quote the Prophet.

    If Jamie Black and White rationally wanted to make a difference wouldn’t he have joined a mainstream party, namely National (he wouldn’t fit Labour or the Greens)?

    Griffith says political party after political party has tried to pick winners, presumably thinking recently of the film industry. Yet there’s always an element of this in Government, Griffith. The PM’s visit to China at present is obviously designed to help smooth over the image of our dairy exports there, for example.

    I much prefer living in a relatively free-market country like NZ, but China’s economic surge proves that planning is not always without benefit to a country. China is in its twelfth State five-year plan. One of the goals that continues from earlier five-year plans is promoting socialist culture, and along with the development of local consumer demand the plan seeks to grow social welfare. China’s major banks are still controlled by the State.

    Unlike NZ, in China the state controls the currency’s exchange rates.

    As for NZ’s log exports, these have surged to China partly on Russia trying to stifle exports of unprocessed products from its vast Siberian forests. If Russia is squeezed by the West over Ukraine, perhaps it might re-open log exports to China, and this would dampen demand for logs from far away New Zealand. Railing them across the border beats shipping them from Tauranga, which is further from Beijing than Paris is.

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  28. gravedodger (1,546 comments) says:

    And if it is wooden tables Cunliffe chooses we will see some things called “tables” that almost no single citizen would recognise as a table.

    If further processing of logs is at all possible there will be people to exploit it but a dollar to a knob of goat shit says there will be a nimby with a contrary view standing in the way.

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  29. NK (1,223 comments) says:

    NK quotes Mr Jamie Black and White almost as fervently the Al Qaeda types quote the Prophet.

    Well it just happens that I read two pieces of nonsense on here which were encapsulated by Jamie very very recently so I repeated them. Nothing but luck really.

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  30. Fisiani (1,025 comments) says:

    The Labour Planning room.
    The Cunliffe – We are polling 29% how can we win
    Matt – Buy votes.
    The Cunliffe – How?
    Matt – Promote policies and promise to spend other peoples money on things that benefit some voters and they will vote for us.
    The Cunliffe – Which groups of voters?
    Matt – Forestry workers, everyone on minimum wage, all low paid government workers and suppliers, students, pensioners, mothers and anyone who gets a power bill.
    The Cunliffe -Wow We’re a shoo in.

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  31. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    @ Mr Tom Hunter.

    Considering the present price of a standing NZ pine plantation.

    Often with the pruning done.

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/whats_killing_the_great_forests_of_the_american_west/2252/

    The concept of a wood framed 10 stories building is a lot easier to grasp if you look at .

    Glulam has much lower embodied energy than reinforced concrete and steel, although of course it does entail more embodied energy than solid timber. However, the laminating process allows timber to be used for much longer spans, heavier loads, and complex shapes. Glulam is two-thirds the weight of steel and one sixth the weight of concrete – the embodied energy to produce it is six times less than the same suitable strength of steel.[3] Glulam can be manufactured to a variety of straight and curved configurations so it offers architects artistic freedom without sacrificing structural requirements.[4] Wood has a greater tensile strength relative to steel – two times on a strength-to-weight basis – and has a greater compressive resistance strength than concrete.[5] The high strength and stiffness of laminated timbers enable glulam beams and arches to span large distances without intermediate columns, allowing more design flexibility than with traditional timber construction. The size is limited only by transportation and handling constraints.Glulam has much lower embodied energy than reinforced concrete and steel, although of course it does entail more embodied energy than solid timber. However, the laminating process allows timber to be used for much longer spans, heavier loads, and complex shapes. Glulam is two-thirds the weight of steel and one sixth the weight of concrete – the embodied energy to produce it is six times less than the same suitable strength of steel.[3] Glulam can be manufactured to a variety of straight and curved configurations so it offers architects artistic freedom without sacrificing structural requirements.[4] Wood has a greater tensile strength relative to steel – two times on a strength-to-weight basis – and has a greater compressive resistance strength than concrete.[5] The high strength and stiffness of laminated timbers enable glulam beams and arches to span large distances without intermediate columns, allowing more design flexibility than with traditional timber construction. The size is limited only by transportation and handling constraints.

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  32. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    “And if it is wooden tables Cunliffe chooses we will see some things called “tables” that almost no single citizen would recognise as a table.”

    It is the role of the Labour caucus to set the approved type of tables, sizes, colour and type of timber. Otherwise someone might do it “wrong”. And how can the taxpayer prop-up these industries if they might get it “wrong”. Maybe ” we” can have tables designed by each of the Labour MPs. The Cunliffe Table, the Moroney Table, the Cosgrove (Mr Newstalk) Table.

    I cant wait.

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  33. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    Its such a brilliant idea, Cunliffe will be giving up politics and starting a table making factory. He’ll make a killing. Oh. Wait. Then it would be his own money on the line. Back to the trough and telling other people what to do.

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  34. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    mikenmild (7,922 comments) says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    mandk
    There I was using ‘Stalinist’ as hyperbole, not realising the Labour Party are actually secret Stalinists…

    Not all of them, just Napoleon, Squealer and some of the other pigs. The donkeys and horses and other animals are dimwits and bleeding-hearts that aren’t very smart or tough. Try and keep up old boy.

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  35. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    So only some of them are Stalinists. What a relief.

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  36. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Its clear that most KB posters have never made anything in their lives but are blood sucking money shifters.
    Go make yourselves a manufacturing enterprise.

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  37. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I made a money box in woodwork class once.

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  38. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    I made a paper towel holder in woodwork. It was a successful enterprise.

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  39. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Why do so many fail to appreciate that its good work to make and sell widgets?

    Why is manufacturing in NZ treated so badly. Never mind what the spin masters at Parliament put out. A decent analysis of the stats show that we are struggling with making and selling at export. Sure we are not bad at R & D but we do have good skills at making stuff as well.

    Do you know that scrap metal is among the top 10 export earners for NZ. i.e. stuff we have wrecked and no longer have a use for, all stuff that was once imported.

    Pacific Aerospace have just shown a light to the way.

    We should look to emulate the likes of Germany and Switzerland and Sweden and even Japan who are without doubt some of the wealthiest countries around th globe.
    Instead we don’t back our selves with sound policy just pander. to the farmers and Maori, neither of which actually vote much anymore for the Nats.

    The only reason logs are selling is that Russia shut the door because so much was raped from their forests. Slowly the world is stopping the rain forest destruction but wood substitutes are growing.

    When China doesn’t want logs what are we going to do?
    Korea used to be big but sales to them went up and down along with the price. Before that Japan bought our timber.

    Same for Dairy. They are buying and learning and developing their own diary industries, and what we see here is nothing.
    Sure there is demand as of now but like all good booms there is a bust. We need to have other strings to our bow or we could get hit with the same no more customer that Britain and the EEC did to us all those many years ago before most of you were in your nappies.

    Go and look at the history of NZ,Britain and the EEC. It nearly sank NZ. Our position now is worse because many others have caught up or surpassed us in the world of international diary. We are a minnow despite all the chest thumping from the Govt. and Fonterra etc.

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  40. wreck1080 (3,858 comments) says:

    demand is certainly for wooden tables.

    If not, we wouldn’t be sending logs to china to make wooden tables.

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  41. srylands (404 comments) says:

    “demand is certainly for wooden tables.

    If not, we wouldn’t be sending logs to china to make wooden tables.”

    Demand is certainly for commercial airliners.

    If not New Zealand Aluminium Smelters wouldn’t be sending aluminium to Airbus to make airplanes.

    So New Zealand should make airplanes. That way we can “add value” to our aluminium. Because if we are good at producing aluminium we must be good at building airplanes.

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  42. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Scoff if you like, but I knew of a Chinese manufacturer who came to Rotorua looking for 10 container loads of dry pine timber per day. Just to make chair legs. No one could supply. Admittedly it was about 15 years ago but it does tell you the scale of what is available.

    Here’s a blog that represents the use of timber and what can be done. Its well written and thoughtful.
    http://pc.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/timber.html

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  43. pejhay (28 comments) says:

    I think I once heard that Japans annual use of timber for chopsticks actually exceeded NZ’s annual total timber exports – we are a very small fish in a very big bowl…

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  44. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    NZ Manufacturers and Exporters Association chief executive John Walley said increased imports of electrical goods, computers and vehicles – Chinese car brand Great Wall has been making inroads into New Zealand – would drive growth in China’s exports to this country.

    “The challenge for New Zealand will be growing its value-added exports to China,” he said. “The big issue right now is we sell them raw materials [such as milk powder and logs] and they sell us value-added products.”

    “If we don’t have that diversification and things go pear-shaped in China it will knock us for six,” he said. “[China's] economic model is coming under a bit of pressure – there’s been an awful lot of leverage built up within that economy within the last few years.”

    A Chinese “wobble scenario” would also have an indirect impact on New Zealand as a result of the negative economic effect it would have on Australia, our second-biggest trading partner, which is heavily reliant on mineral exports to China.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11223316

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