Verve Article - March 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Trading Enables us to Invest in our Children

We Kiwis pay our way in the world by selling our produce and services to foreign buyers.

It’s how we make our money.   Simply put, the more we sell, the more we can afford as a nation to invest in healthcare, education, roads and other good things.

But the reality of life is that many countries have made it difficult for us to trade with them by putting tariffs on New Zealand goods.

For example, cherry growers sending cherries to Korea have had to pay a 25% tariff for years.  The good news is that from 1 December last year the 25% tariff has been dropped, as a result of the NZ-Korea trade deal.  Suddenly we are in the game and our cherry exports to Korea are booming.

These sorts of opportunities will also open up for countless Kiwi businesses with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  

The TPP will be New Zealand’s biggest Free Trade Agreement (FTA), giving our exporters much better access to more than 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific.

Successive New Zealand governments have worked hard to achieve this for 25 years. They knew it would help diversify and grow the economy.

So it really is unthinkable that any responsible government would now walk away from the TPP.

With a stronger economy we can continue to invest in our children.

Latest figures show around 780,000 children are now benefiting from free GP visits and prescriptions for children under -13. That’s 23 per cent higher compared to the same quarter last year. So far 99 per cent of GPs around New Zealand are offering free GP visits.

We’ve also been able to invest in the B4 School Check.  This includes hearing, eyesight, height, weight, and oral health assessments, as well as comprehensive health and development questionnaires.

It’s great to see that we’re already on track to exceed last year’s B4 School Checks numbers. In 2014/15 the programme reached a record 92 per cent – the highest rate since the programme began back in 2008.

Reducing barriers to trade makes New Zealand more prosperous and this enables us to give more New Zealanders the opportunity to succeed.