New Zealand must double down with an economy-wide drive to buy Kiwi products and services to save businesses and jobs from a Covid-19 induced slump, according to a leading national business services figure.
The call comes as the nation seeks to begin reviving the economy following a level-four shutdown which has left many companies reeling – with a recent Auckland Business Chamber survey revealing nearly one in three firms fear they will not survive Covid-19.
National business sales director for Bayleys Real Estate, Jayson Hayde, said it was time to urgently ramp up the campaign to buy New Zealand made – with a far-reaching drive targeting not just consumers, but also the vast purchasing power of public and private-sector buyers.
“In the three decades since its launch, the ‘Buy New Zealand Made’ campaign and trademark has been a helpful marketing tool for businesses to capitalise on the New Zealand brand,” said Mr Hayde.
The original campaign, launched in 1988 by the Council of Trade Unions and NZ Manufacturers' Federation, was expanded over the years to incorporate retailers and cottage industries. Today it supports 1,200 New Zealand manufacturers which use the ‘New Zealand Made’ Kiwi trademark.
Mr Hayde said the campaign’s call to action was instantly recognisable among consumers, which could be leveraged in a renewed push. But other businesses and government agencies also had a huge role to play when making purchasing decisions collectively worth tens of billions of dollars a year.
“There is considerable potential for the Government, in particular, to take the lead and ‘walk the talk’ by modelling a strong stance of buying locally wherever possible.
“Each year government agencies spend more than $40 billion – around 18 percent of GDP – on a vast array of goods and services from third-party suppliers.
“Government procurement principles require them to ‘seek opportunities to involve New Zealand businesses, including Māori, Pasifika and regional businesses and social enterprises’.
“Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that public-service procurement teams are doing all they can to foster and facilitate local business involvement in tendering processes, enabling companies to put their best foot forward – with a view to lifting procurement from New Zealand firms,” said Mr Hayde.
“Similarly, companies of all sizes should be seeking to source and procure business supplies and services locally where available, for the greater good of New Zealand Inc. Some firms may even look beyond established attitudes towards competitors and seek new ways of collaborating with other Kiwi companies if it improves the prospects of mutual survival. More and more businesses are beginning to realise that, ultimately, we are all in this together,” Mr Hayde said.
“New Zealand-based companies offer products and services across a multitude of categories – from construction and home and garden, to health and beauty, sports and leisure, electronics, clothing, jewellery and toys. If you need it, there’s probably a Kiwi company that makes it or does it.”
A full list of products and services offered by businesses holding a ‘Buy New Zealand Made’ license can be seen at the Buy NZ online market.
The original campaign was launched in 1988 – a year after the ’87 stock market crash – with the slogan “Buy NZ Made & Keep Your Country Working”.
“Three decades on, and faced with a new and arguably bigger crisis, this slogan couldn’t be more relevant,” said Mr Hayde.
“All of us – consumers, businesses and Government – need to buy local like our jobs, businesses and economy depend on it – because right now they do.”