Sunday, December 07, 2008

NZ made? so what, promote it yourself

Unless you have the intellectual breadth of a young child, the idea that taxpayers should be forced to pay for a promotion to buy New Zealand was always banal. There is no more good reason to buy a product made in New Zealand over one made in Australia, Austria, Albania, Angola or Antigua because of where it is made, than there is for someone from Karori to buy Karori made over Khandallah made. The rational consumer should trade off price and value from any commodity. That may also include an element of preferring one producer over another, for moral reasons. This is exercised by consumers across the spectrum, because of concerns over environmental, political, religious or philosophical underpinnings of producers. Governments can't predict nor should they interfere with these billions of choices that influence producers to meet what people want. It certainly shouldn't make you pay for a campaign that is about convincing people that where something is made should influence whether it is bought - rather than price and the product itself.

So, it is positive that the new government has abandoned spending any more money on the "Buy Kiwi Made" campaign. A campaign the Greens strongly pushed, as part of their own economic nationalism agenda. Believing it is moral that all New Zealanders, consumers, producers (including importers) should subsidise advertising for New Zealand made products, on the misguided notion that buying more New Zealand made goods is good for the economy.

The truth is that buying a New Zealand made product is good for the producer - it isn't good for the competitors of that producer, or producers of other things you may have bought, or even where you may have invested or saved the money. However, to create value the money you paid for that product should be worth slightly less than the product you bought. Why buy something New Zealand made if it costs more and is poorer quality than the alternative, or simply doesn't meet your needs? After all, why is the producer of the foreign made good - who used initiative to produce something that DOES meet your needs less deserving of your dollar? The only conceivable answer to that sort of discrimination is racism. After all once you have a product you like at a good price, it is up to New Zealand producers to attract business from the foreign producers - which of course, would be easier if there was free trade.

Oh yes, the Greens oppose that too, indeed have actively supported nonsense like "food sovereignty", the latest leftwing campaign against free trade in agriculture, warmly welcomed by the bleeding parasites of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, and Sue Kedgley.

However, stepping back from that, this s not to say that New Zealand producers should not, voluntarily, fund a "Buy NZ Made" campaign if it wins them business. Which they do, and have done so for many years. Air New Zealand, for example, makes a deal about being from New Zealand. However, I'm not flying it back home this Christmas simply because of price - I got a better deal in business class with Scandinavian Airlines (not quite as good but I wanted to spend the extra £1,500 on something else).

You see the government campaign was "Buy Kiwi Made" and has duplicated the privately funded "Buy NZ Made" campaign. Yes there already was and still is an industry led campaign to "Buy NZ Made". Labour and the Greens duplicated it.

Sue Bradford, well renowned economic genius, could put her money where her mouth is and financially support that campaign, and leave everyone else's bank accounts alone.

However, I somehow suspect Sue Bradford's degree of direct support for the privately run "Buy NZ Made" campaign will match the regularity of Green MP's using the train to go between Wellington and Auckland.

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