Rotorua Review: Our economy still on track

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recently I was in Europe pushing European Union (EU) Governments for better trade access for New Zealand products. Europe is the world’s richest consumer market and, whilst there’s much talk of China, the EU remains important to New Zealand businesses and New Zealand jobs. As you can imagine, a great deal of time during these meetings was spent talking about Greece and how the EU deals with their latest financial crisis.

One of the pleasing things from this visit was just how positive Europe is about New Zealand and the state of our economy. There is growing support amongst the 28 EU countries for a high quality trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand, which will lead to better access for our exports and better access to Europe for our people.

Compared to most countries the NZ economy has fared well over the past six years. We’ve been sheltered from the worst of the Global Financial Crisis and have seen growth rates above 3%. Unemployment has fallen and the number of people employed has increased significantly. We are one of the first countries in the world to get the Government’s books back in shape, and will be one of the first to start paying down debt. We are certainly no Greece and are doing better than almost every single European nation.

Over the last six years the New Zealand’s economy has been diversified and has shown resilience. We are well placed for sustainable growth, even with fluctuations in the prices of some of our key exports.

Sectors important to Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty are doing well. We’ve seen strong investment in wood processing and tourism, two mainstays of our local economy. The kiwifruit sector, and the sheep and beef industry is also doing exceptionally well at the moment.

Things feel very positive locally. This mood is as a result of hard work by local businesses and local people over the last six years to invest, grow and, create jobs. We’re certainly doing better than Europe and with continued commitment and hard work can do better yet.