Govt releases first progress report on Export Markets

  • Steven Joyce
  • Bill English
Economic Development Finance

Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce have today launched the first Business Growth Agenda progress report on Government actions to boost New Zealand exports.

The Building Export Markets report confirms the Government’s target to increase the contribution of exports to the economy from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Mr English says this is a challenging target and achieving it will require a concerted effort by New Zealand over many years. It will also require the continued development of new and expanding export markets.

“It is only through exporting that New Zealand, with a small domestic market, can deliver the growth and productivity required to enhance the wealth of our country and create more and higher paying jobs,” Mr English says.

“Committing to this ambitious goal means the Government will stay focused on supporting firms to grow their exports.

“Setting that target flows through to other areas of the Business Growth Agenda, such as accessing the level of capital investment needed to achieve it, and ensuring we manage our resource base to provide opportunities for business growth, while mitigating the environmental risks.”

Mr Joyce says the report highlights the significant shift in economic power from the West to East that is expected to occur over the next 20 years.

“Half a billion people in Asia earn what we call ‘middle incomes’. By 2020 that will treble to 1.7 billion. And by 2030, 3.2 billion middle income people will live in Asia,” Mr Joyce says.

“These people are very interested in the sort of goods and services New Zealand is able to provide.

“Asia represents a massive growth opportunity for our country. The only question for us is what are we prepared to do to take up that opportunity.”

The Building Export Markets progress report is the first of six reports on the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. Others will address innovation, skills, capital markets, infrastructure and resources. The reports lay out the work programme government agencies are implementing.

“The reports are a way of communicating to stakeholders, particularly the business community, what programmes the Government is working on, and seeking their feedback as to what to speed up, what to slow down, and what else needs doing,” Mr Joyce says.

Actions contained in the report include improving access to international markets, making it easier to trade from New Zealand, helping businesses internationalise, increasing value from tourism and high-tech manufacturing, growing international education, and strengthening high value manufacturing and services exports.

“This first report is important, as it lays out the challenge for achieving growth - which is about being much more closely linked into the rest of the world, and taking advantage of our opportunities,” Mr Joyce said.

“While the world is going through tough times, the growth in Asian incomes will occur over the next 20 years. So there will be job growth. New Zealand’s challenge is to ensure it occurs in New Zealand, not in Australia, or somewhere else.”

The report is available at:

Questions and answers

1. What is the Business Growth Agenda?
The Business Growth Agenda is a series of initiatives the Government is taking to build a more productive and competitive economy. Together they constitute a comprehensive agenda of microeconomic reform that will assist businesses to compete.

The Business Growth Agenda complements the Government’s macroeconomic commitments to responsibly manage the Government’s finances and deliver the ongoing stability businesses need to have confidence to invest and grow.

The Business Growth Agenda is about ensuring businesses have access to the six key ingredients they need to grow, create jobs and be successful. They include access to markets, innovation, skills, capital markets, infrastructure, and resources.

The Government is focused on making access to these six key elements easier to give businesses the platform they need to become internationally competitive.

2. What is the purpose of the Building Export Markets Report?
Building Export Markets is the first of six progress reports focusing on each of the six elements of the Business Growth Agenda. These reports provide a high-level assessment of the “state of play” in each area, give a clear picture of the advances being made in each area of work and projects the Government is focused on.

The reports provide transparency to businesses about the work of government agencies, and seek feedback and input into the work-plan. We expect business to use the reports to engage with the Government on its initiatives, indicating what they want to see more of, less of and any new initiatives they would like to see advanced.

The Building Innovation progress report will be launched later this month, followed by reports on Skilled and Safe Workplaces, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Capital Markets.

3. How can New Zealand achieve the 40 per cent of GDP goal?
Increasing the ratio of exports to GDP to 40 per cent is an ambitious goal and made more challenging given the current condition of the global economy. But to make a real difference to New Zealand’s future, we need to target big aspirations and changes.

Achieving our 40 per cent target will require a shift away from the production of goods and services for the domestic economy, and towards international markets. It will require investment to flow to opportunities in the export sector, as well as the ability of labour and skills to shift in response to changing demand.

4. How can the Government’s actions influence the growth of exports?
The Business Growth Agenda will ensure the Government stays focused on what matters to business, to encourage confidence and further investment. It will make it easier for firms to access international markets, innovation, capital, skilled workers, resources, and the necessary public infrastructure.

5. How have businesses been involved in the development of this report?
Discussions with businesses and business sector groups have taken place in developing this report. Their feedback has shaped the actions, and a number of our most successful exporters are profiled as case studies. More than 40 stakeholders are being interviewed to shape the development of the New Zealand Story.

6. How will the broader New Zealand Story be produced?
A New Zealand-based agency with a strong understanding of brand strategy will be appointed to develop the New Zealand Story as well as a supporting tool kit for business. This process will draw on a series of interviews with leaders across the private and wider public sector with experience in New Zealand’s overseas markets.

7. Why does New Zealand need a New Zealand Story?
New Zealand already has a favourable international reputation, but it could be clearer and it could be stronger. While New Zealand is strongly associated with our beautiful landscape, it would help our exporters if we were also recognised offshore for our other key attributes such as our high quality goods and services, our innovation and ideas, and our unique Māori culture.

8. What will the New Zealand Story mean for businesses?
Businesses will be able to access a toolkit that could include graphic design elements, photography and video, as well as benefit from the strength of a stronger collective New Zealand identity.

9. How does this New Zealand Story relate to the “100% Pure New Zealand” campaign?
The New Zealand Story is an overarching story that industry-targeted campaigns such as 100% Pure New Zealand will sit under.