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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Trotter jumps the shark

Chris Trotter's latest column really jumps the shark. It's a pitiful attempt at reclaiming the moral high ground Labour had thought it stood on until Sunday.

Take the central claim Trotter is making, that China has replaced Britain as our "imperial" power. Labour, in its clumsy attempt at directing the narrative on housing affordability to blaming foreign buyers the Chinese, is simply reflecting on this.

You just cannot seriously argue that China now occupies the same place for New Zealand economically as Britain did up until 1972. That is autarkist nonsense that doesn't stand up to analysis.

For starters New Zealand's exports to the UK were a massive proportion of our economy, right up until the 1960s - where they averaged around the 55% mark. They've now fallen so low Statistics NZ count them as part of the EU. For this past year, China accounted for 23% of exports and 17% of imports. While growth has been strong it's highly unlikely to continue at the pace it has, with growth tapering off this year to May.

Then there's foreign investment. Despite what you might think watching or reading the news, the biggest foreign investors in New Zealand are still Australia, the United States and the UK, in that order.