Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Remember that ‘Buy Kiwi’ campaign?

Remember that ‘Buy Kiwi’ campaign? Daniel Silva at the Importers Institute does, and he has a story to tell you:

The Greens and the last Labour government decided to fund a "Buy Kiwi Campaign." They spent $10.2 million from our taxes, most of it ($8.4m) with an advertising agency.

The Ministry of Economic Development has now commissioned a review from consultants MartinJenkins and Associates. The report is available from the Ministry's website: http://tinyurl.com/ydnorqw.

The report concluded "there was no convincing evidence of overall impact on consumer spending," "there was a lack of conventional policy analysis" and "there was no assessment of the likely impact or of the costs and benefits". In other words, Green and Labour politicians spent our money like confetti, spraying it against the Wellington wind – and achieved nothing of any use. . . The only beneficiaries were some residents of Grey Lynn [and their architects] , who lined their pockets with the advertising extravaganza.

As Daniel says, we could have told you that before all the nonsense started. Anything with both Sue Bradford and Oliver Driver involved is doomed to be an expensive failure.

And as David Ricardo could have told Oliver and Sue, it’s foolish to expend our time and resources producing things we do poorly when we could use them so much more efficiently producing things we do well. (Do what we do well, and trade for what others do well, and everyone ends up winning, right.)

Which means that even if the campaign had succeeded on its own terms, we all would have been much the poorer for restricting our purchases to thing domestic—poorer even than the loss of those multi-million dollars sprayed up against a Grey Lynn wall.

After all, the reason most NZers bother to produce at all is to buy other stuff. The simple truth here—something the ‘Buy Kiwi’ campaigners failed to grasp, is that the  best way for New Zealand to “make” cars and electronic goods is to grow cows and sheep and fish, and trade them.

Such is the beauty of free trade.


  1. I, for one, absolutely love the buy-NZ made campaign. It was a perfect piece of policy.

    Can you imagine a cheaper, lower-cost, less inefficient way of providing a sop to the anti-trade folks? Labour had to give them something. This was something. And it was something that cost only $2.25 per person. Tariffs would have been far more expensive. So too would have been fair trade mandates. Think of how much worse it could have been, and give thanks for those lame buy-NZ ads.

  2. Labour had to give them something.

    No they didn't.

  3. The campaign was a joke.
    I rang the Buy NZ dept and asked for a list of New Zealand manufactures of a product.
    Of which they supplied a very small list.
    The main Manufactures would not supply as they are licking the arse of the big retailers.
    (so much for a free market)
    A number had closed down.
    So not a lot of choice.
    So I sell goods from China.
    The price is better
    The quality is better


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