Māori Export Competitiveness

Key Points

Re-balancing towards exporting leads to better economic outcomes

Recent discussion has focused on the need to re-balance the New Zealand economy. The aim of the re-balancing is to shift production towards the tradable sector and increase our exports. International trade is good for New Zealand’s economic growth because it opens our businesses to larger markets, and allows us to focus on doing what we do best by creating opportunities for our more productive firms to expand.

The gains from exporting flow across the whole economy as higher incomes and sales are spent in New Zealand places like supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, clothing stores, and all the other aspects of New Zealand’s economy. In this way the whole country gains from improved export performance.

High-growth industries present opportunities for all of New Zealand

New Zealand’s export sector needs a step change in performance to meet the Government’s goal of increasing the value of exports to 40 percent of GDP by 2025. New Zealand can make large gains by improving its export performance in high global-growth sectors. New Zealand already has an export advantage in these products. It should be simpler to build on these existing strengths than develop exports in entirely new products. The high demand growth for these products suggests that there is plenty of space for New Zealand producers to expand.

Māori businesses are operating in all of New Zealand’s broad areas of export strength. It is likely that Māori businesses will have opportunities in these high-growth industries. Māori businesses appear well placed to take advantage of export opportunities in the primary sector as well as through tradable services such as tourism, education, and personal, cultural and recreational services.

Planning and leveraging existing government resources can help Māori exporters succeed

The decision to export is risky for businesses. Māori businesses need to enter export markets with their eyes open to all relevant risks. The competitive nature of a product market is one of these risks and is a significant factor of long-term success. Māori businesses need to consider how they will respond to all of the competitive aspects of a market before deciding to export. A Porterian framework is a useful way of thinking about these competition issues

NZTE and MFAT are two government agencies that have a direct role in developing New Zealand’s international trade. Māori businesses that take advantage of the export-focused advice and resources provided by these agencies will be well placed to enter export markets with greater confidence.

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