Goldsmith Update: March 2016
Hon Paul Goldsmith
National List MP based in Epsom
The three week Parliamentary session has just finished and was dominated by concerns about the potential effects of
ongoing relatively low prices for dairy products.
No one doubts that those farmers who are heavily indebted will face increasingly difficult trading conditions if the
prices stay lower for longer.
The point that Government Ministers have been making is that, while of course we are concerned with the welfare of
farmers, this doesn’t detract from the fact that we are seeing continued growth across many parts of the economy.
Despite the fall in dairy prices, exports actually increased by almost $2 billion in the past year.
Tourism is performing well, with a record 3 million international visitors achieved for the first time in 2015. Annual
beef exports are now $3.3 billion – up one third in the past year. International education was worth $3.1 billion in
2015, supporting 30,000 jobs.
The broader economic picture remains strong. After a weaker patch in the first half of 2015, gross domestic product
(GDP) growth picked up in the second half of the year. Statistics New Zealand also reported that New Zealand’s net
external debt has fallen to 55 per cent of GDP – down from 83 per cent when National took office and the lowest level
since 2003. These figures represent good progress in improving a longstanding imbalance in the economy.
What I found a little galling was having to watch all the Opposition parties calling for the Government to ‘do
something’ for the farmers, when they have consistently opposed everything we have tried to do to help our exporters in
No government can control international dairy prices or the exchange rate. Similarly most developed countries have not
thought it was wise for politicians to set interest rates for the past 20 or 30 years. However good governments can
fight hard for international agreements that reduce barriers to trade and domestic costs. Yet Opposition parties have
opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been around the country fronting roadshows on the TPP, on behalf of my colleague Todd
McClay, the Minister of Trade. These roadshows are designed to allow open debate, informed discussion, and a clear path
forward for businesses that can recognise the benefits of a market that comprises 36 per cent of the world’s GDP.
While there have been a handful of noisy protestors, I’ve been struck that most Kiwis get it. We’re a small trading
nation in a big bad world; if we can gain better access to more markets then that’s a good thing.
The wine industry is one of several export industries thriving. It’s amazing to think that it was only in the late 1990s
that New Zealand wine exports were less than $100 million a year. This year, those exports broke $1.5 billion. Our
biggest market is the United States. Prospects of future growth look good, especially given the better exporting
conditions in the US and elsewhere that TPP will bring.
I was pleased this week to be able to help the industry in a small, but not inconsiderable, way by bringing the
Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Amendment Bill to Parliament.
This Bill will give New Zealand wine and spirit makers the ability to register regional names as geographical
A geographical indication is a name (usually a regional name) that is used to identify the origin of goods where a
quality, reputation or other characteristic of the goods are related in some essential way to their geographical origin.
Examples in the New Zealand market are terms such as ‘Marlborough’ and ‘Martinborough’ and internationally the term
Further, being able to register geographical indications makes it easier for New Zealand exporters to promote and
protect their product in competitive overseas markets.
Commerce Commission Animations
I’ve spoken frequently of the work underway to improve financial capability and money skills in our communities. The
Commerce Commission is one of the key agencies that works in this area. It has produced a new series of animations that
attempt to bring greater awareness around consumer rights and explain key law changes.
The series, called Its All Good, focuses on common situations that many of us will find ourselves in at some stage in
our life. The first five episodes focus on credit issues such as getting a loan, being a guarantor, as well as hardship
The trailer and primary three episodes had more than 140,000 views in the first week. I encourage you to check them out
– it’s much easier than reading your standard detailed fact sheet!
I’ve been out and about at the many community events that fill the weekends at this time of year.
I was pleased to pick up a monkey (pictured below) at Parnell Inc’s Year of the Monkey exhibition. Artists and
celebrities added their creative genius to the monkeys and their creations were auctioned in support of the Starship
Foundation’s National Air Ambulance Service. Well done Parnell!
I was also excited to receive a call from organisers of the Mt Eden Village Little Day Out a couple of days after the
event to say that I’d won the raffle. I’ve bought countless tickets over the years and never won anything. It was rather
bemusing however, to learn my prize was a bunch of fair-trade bananas!