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New Zealand’s supply chains have performed well under really trying circumstances over the COVID period, but we need to kick on, says a new NZIER Insight report.

“New Zealand has dodged an economic bullet. Under extreme pressure, supply chains have proven themselves to be exceptionally resilient, both for imports and exports,” says Chris Nixon, Principal Economist and lead author of the Insight.

“It is worth reviewing where we have come from. A pandemic fuelled by ease of global connections, China and the United States squaring off, assertive Chinese nationalism, increased demand as many consumers benefited from quantitative easing, port congestion – particularly in Auckland, and ongoing COVID waves.

“This is what New Zealand has had to put up with, yet the value of imports and exports are at all-time highs (albeit fuelled by imported inflation). “While we are not celebrating, there at least should be a collective sigh of relief,” commented Chris Nixon.

Nixon warns that as some sort of normalcy returns – COVID-19 willing – New Zealand must remain vigilant and remain focused on improving supply chains.

“With solid demand for New Zealand products and a firming outlook, supply chain participants need to keep at it. This is particularly so for perishable products which require supply chain flexibility,” commented Chris Nixon.

Keeping at it requires examining the whole supply chain and its participants to ensure we are as effective and efficient as possible. It means having independent, trustworthy border-facing agencies, embracing paperless (digital) trade opportunities, considering new supply chains with new trades (the Southern Link, for example), and reducing waste in the supply chain to mitigate climate impacts.

“Whatever we do, New Zealand needs to ensure that we keep working away at supply chain issues since it is about the lifeblood of the economy. The opportunities pursued must be world competitive and underpinned by a capable workforce. Nixon said that being “traders with the world” means not closing off our market options either.

“Climate change mitigation needs to be addressed, and supply chains need to play their part in mitigating food waste. None of this is easy, but we should have the confidence given what we have just been through with COVID,” says Nixon.

Read the Insight here.


Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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