What reports has he received on how New Zealand’s industries have diversified since 2008?
STUART SMITH to the Minister for Economic Development: What reports has he received on how New Zealand’s industries have diversified since 2008?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): I have received a number of reports showing that New Zealand’s industries have diversified significantly since 2008—for example, the wine industry, where wine exports have nearly doubled from just under $800 million in 2008 to $1.4 billion this year.
Beef export revenues have grown from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $3.1 billion in the year to March 2015. Information and communications technology sector exports have more than doubled to $930 million in 2014. Despite the cut-and-paste negative rhetoric of some commentators in this House, it is examples like these that shows that this Government is getting the settings right in order to encourage growth in diversification of the New Zealand economy.
Stuart Smith: How are Government programmes and policies contributing to this diversification and growth?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: They are achieving a huge amount. One of the key initiatives to further diversify the economy is to boost research and development investment in different sectors. The Callaghan Innovation centre that we have set up is investing a substantial amount of new spending in research and development grants, and just today I announced the availability of another 233 positions for research and development student grants this summer. T
he interesting thing is that when you compare business spending in research and development in New Zealand with, perhaps, Australia—we have a grant scheme and Australia has a tax credit scheme—the research and development here is skewed far more heavily towards high-tech sectors such as information and communications technology and high-tech manufacturing. Nearly 42 percent of business research and development investment in New Zealand is now in the manufacturing sector, and computer services make up another 25 percent of business research and development investment. That suggests that we are going to see further diversification and growth in these sectors in the years ahead.
Stuart Smith: What has been the impact of this diversification on the economy?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: We have seen quite dramatic employment growth in these industries. For example, the information and communications technology industry has grown by around 6,200 jobs in the past year. Far from being in crisis, the manufacturing industry is employing 24,500 more people today than it was a year ago, and it is the largest it has been in 7 years.
We are also seeing growth in other industries, with 50,000 more people employed in construction in the past 2 years. That is the highest level it has ever been. There are 20,000 more jobs in retail in the past 12 months, and, in fact, over 4½ years, we have seen 199,000 more people in work.