Trade story needs work: NZIER

Marlborough Express - - BUSINESS - SU­SAN ED­MUNDS

Wide­spread op­po­si­tion to the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) shows that pol­i­cy­mak­ers must do more to build New Zealan­ders’ sup­port for glob­al­i­sa­tion, an­a­lysts say.

The New Zealand In­si­tute of Eco­nomic Re­search (NZIER) has re­leased a new pa­per con­sid­er­ing glob­al­i­sa­tion’s ef­fect on New Zealand.

It says glob­al­i­sa­tion is in rude health, with cross-bor­der links and ex­changes get­ting stronger.

While the world’s phys­i­cal trade is now grow­ing more slowly than at any time since year 2009, other com­po­nents of glob­al­i­sa­tion such as peo­ple move­ment con­tinue to grow.

Chris Nixon, a se­nior re­search econ­o­mist at NZIER, said glob­al­i­sa­tion was not solely an eco­nomic phe­nom­e­non – it was also driven by tech­nol­ogy.

Glob­al­i­sa­tion and in­ter­na­tional trade of ideas, cul­ture and goods and ser­vices were more im­por­tant to New Zealand than some coun­tries, he said, be­cause it is a smaller ex­port­ing na­tion.

Small changes in­ter­na­tion­ally could have big ef­fects in New Zealand.

‘‘We can­not stop glob­al­i­sa­tion. It has too many facets: so­cial, cul­tural and eco­nomic. More im­por­tantly, it is how we cap­i­talise on these changes that will de­ter­mine New Zealand’s progress,’’ Nixon said.

‘‘And they are gov­erned by tech­nol­ogy, which keeps mov­ing ahead, as we are re­minded with each up­grade of our smart­phone’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem.’’

But he said there was a risk that New Zealan­ders were too wary of the con­cept.

‘‘You can point for ex­am­ple at the TPP. Yes, it might have brought us some ad­van­tages but it’s clear we didn’t bring the peo­ple along with us.’’

He said more work should have gone into ex­plain­ing why it was pos­i­tive and de­liv­er­ing that mes­sage to the pub­lic.

‘‘Glob­al­i­sa­tion in essence in New Zealand is a good news story,’’ he said.

‘‘There are things that have gone wrong – I wouldn’t want to un­der­es­ti­mate those but in New Zealand we’ve ad­justed very well. Part of the is­sue is that change in New Zealand has not been grad­ual – it’s tended to be jerky.

‘‘Un­like the ex­pe­ri­ence of Aus­tralia, dis­cus­sions around glob­al­i­sa­tion in New Zealand have be­come mixed up with the fraught de­bates about eco­nomic pol­icy changes of the last 15 years of the 20th cen­tury.’’

Nixon said glob­al­i­sa­tion would also prompt a de­gree of lo­cal­i­sa­tion.

‘‘What it does is it sharp­ens our un­der­stand­ing of what we want to hold on to, and what we think of as generic.’’

PHOTO: GE­ORGE HEARD/STUFF

The ben­e­fits of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship could have been ex­plained bet­ter, NZIER says.

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