New Zealand’s Hipkins Outlines Economic Priorities If Reelected

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has outlined five economic priorities for his government if he is reelected at next month’s election.

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His list includes positioning New Zealand as a global leader in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, as well as doing more to leverage the nation’s digital creativity. It also includes growing an export-led economy and offering more premium tourism.

“My vision for New Zealand is a smart, modern and green economy that profits from our brand and natural offerings as well as leadership on climate,” Hipkins said in a statement Wednesday. “We’ll build on where we are already strong – in our primary industries, our renewable energy sector and tourism – to present a modern, sustainable economic base.”

Hipkin’s Labour Party is behind in opinion polls less than six weeks from the vote on Oct. 14 as economic growth struggles amid rising costs and high interest rates. Many economists and the central bank are forecasting a recession in the second half of 2023.

The next Labour-led government will seek to expand export opportunities by pursuing more free trade agreements, Hipkins said. India is in his sights.

“After securing trade deals with the UK and EU this year, my next priority will be to lead a Prime Ministerial delegation to India within the first 100 days of a new government,” he said.

The government wants to grow the agritech sector to NZ$8 billion ($4.7 billion) by 2030. To achieve that goal Labour will inject NZ$100 million into the Venture Capital Fund to allow it to invest more in agritech businesses.

Hipkins says there is scope to sell New Zealand’s expertise and know-how around renewable energy to the world, while also driving export value across the science, space, gaming, information technology and biotech industries.

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