At Stuff, Mike Joy (Massey University) and George Preddey (ex-DSIR) reckon New Zealand's point of difference in global product markets is being clean, green and 100% Pure. That's true of tourism. For products, though, I reckon they're dead wrong.

'New Zealand's point of difference in differentiating its products in world markets centres on its natural environment.  Its "clean and green/100% Pure" image is promoted as a global brand. Without this brand, New Zealand has little to command market status and an attractive international identity.' – Mike Joy and George Preddey, Orthodox economics conceals real costs of agriculture, Stuff, 28 October 2016.

Fact is, we've succeeded on world markets because we've been able to pump out commodities. Not because we're clean or green. Here's a look at our dairy exports for 2015. Last year, wholemilk and whole milk powder made up four fifths of our dairy exports, and contributed 9.8 billion dollars to NZ's GDP. Those are commodities, with as little value added as you can get. Being perceived as clean and green had nothing to do with it.

NZ dairy exports, Jan-Dec 2015 (2015 NZD)

NZ dairy exports, Jan-Dec 2015 (2015 NZD)


Should NZ, Inc. try to brand export products using the "100% Pure" theme that's worked so well in tourism? It's worth noting that not even the New Zealand Story (the government-sponsored national branding and export support programme kicked off by Tourism New Zealand, NZTE and Education New Zealand) has gone with that. I can't see how it could be a good idea. But that's another question for another post.

AuthorNicola Rowe