15 million population 'would spur exports'
Fri, 16 Nov 2012 4:22p.m.
By Pattrick Smellie
New Zealand exports are more likely to grow if governments target a population of 15 million by 2060 than by creating arbitrary targets for export growth, says the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research in a paper for the export arm of Business New Zealand.
The report also recommends considering tax incentives or grants to encourage large, successful New Zealand companies to remain based here, instead of targeting all assistance to companies just starting out as exporters.
That recommendation, which carries no detail, was "very much their own," said Catherine Beard, executive director of Export NZ, which commissioned the report from the independent economic consultancy.
"That was probably one of the more controversial recommendations. It's not generally the sort of thing we recommend."
But there were valid questions about how to maintain the economic impact of New Zealand companies that are bought by foreign investors or moved closer to foreign markets to continue their global growth.
Titled "Scale Up or Die", the NZIER report argues other successful exporting nations are not only closer to their markets, but also have larger home markets in which to create the scale needed for export success.
"If New Zealand's biggest impediment to better economic performance is an absence of scale, there is only one way to overcome this over the long term and that is to grow the population through more migrants," say the report's authors, economists John Stephenson and John Ballingal.
"You cannot fake scale. You have to build it."
NZIER has previously advocated a population target of 15 million in the next 50 years, the report notes.
Its authors also accuse kiwis of "egregious double standards" for opposing foreign corporate ownership when their home mortgages are largely funded by foreign capital, and say the Resource Management Act is more of a barrier than a help to sustainable economic development.
The New Zealand dollar remains high and a barrier to exports because Government spending is too high, they say, with public servants costing more to hire on average than in the private sector and schemes such as Working for Families and interest-free student loans acting as "a tax on exports."
The report also questions whether the array of government programmes to assist exporters represents repeated attempts to reinvent the wheel, accompanied by a lack of evaluation and impatience for results.
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17/11/2012 8:53:04 a.m.
I'm with you Cyril, do you recall a couple of decades back how the same type of people were advocating that NZ needed a population of 5mill to "succeed". Well, we are almost there and lo! we are hearing calls for 15mill. Dopey argument because the economy that requires a population increase ALWAYS requires a population increase, there will never be enough with that kind of thinking. No, we have to come up with a better way of doing things that does not involve more, more, more all the time, as, except for people, we are running out of "mores"
16/11/2012 9:38:20 p.m.
Im glad I wont be here to see 15 million people in New Zealand. the whole place will be like Auckland, YUCK.
If the greens think we have problems now wait till we have that many people mucking up the place.
Three times the houses three times roads three times everything.
16/11/2012 6:10:38 p.m.
This seams to built on the idea that migrants to NZ can work and push up our exports.What happens to the lazy Kiwis that wont get out of bed to work? Well, I expect them to complain and moan about migrants stealing their jobs which they never had and will never work towards getting.Our dollar is still lower than our trading partners currencies (Aus/UK/US/EU/Japan/China who use mostly US$). Printing money to lower the NZ$ wont help NZ as it will increase debt, give us inflation and lower real wages.The RMA is strangling development and needs fixing - like fixing a stray dog.NZ has lived outside its means for 39 of the last 40 years, with the last balance of payments surplus in 1973.No country can afford to borrow/borrow/borrow. Those that have are finding themselves turning around and have Greece type problems.We need to build our export base and turn our economy around and get NZ back into surplus, and leave it there. Our current export growth during world recession is a start, but only a start.We need to add value to our exports, not just export raw product for others to process/manufacture and then import back. We are doig this with likes of Fonterra which the opposition wants to break up and destroy. Have the oppostion been bribed from EU competition like Kraft? The oppositions ETS seams to be EU favourable to the expense of NZ. How will the ETS help NZ when it can only double current dairy prices in NZ as we can't collect ETS on dairy exports we dont set the price on, and which the EU subsidies hold prices down on.
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