New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (Te Taurapa Tūhono) the Government’s trade and investment agency, is on track to deliver its expanded support for New Zealand’s exporters.
The agency’s Chair, Andrew Ferrier, and Chief Executive, Peter Chrisp, recently appeared before the Select Committee for Economic Development, Science and Innovation.
“I certainly don’t need to tell you all that it has been a tough and challenging year, but it also has been a year of opportunity,” said Ferrier. “We have been part of the Government’s Trade Recovery Strategy, along with MFAT, MPI, MBIE, Regional Business Partners and other key government departments and agencies. This has been the most comprehensive NZ Inc effort that we have ever been involved with.
“Within this broader effort, our focus at NZTE has been to do everything we can to support exporters to stay connected to international markets, through the most turbulent time that any of us can remember.”
Ferrier also praised the efforts of NZTE’s international people, who make up nearly half of the agency’s staff. “Some of our people have been living and working from home under varying forms of lockdown for almost 12 months now. They have served New Zealand exceptionally well, and it is an honour to represent them here today.”
Chrisp detailed NZTE’s use of an extra $216 million over the next four years, allocated as part of the Government’s Trade Recovery Strategy. He said the additional funds were focused on three areas.
“First, Intensity, which means we have doubled the number of high focus export companies, who receive the most intense services, from 700 to 1400.
“Secondly, Reach, whereby we support all of New Zealand’s 12,000 export companies. We have done this by launching our new digital portal – myNZTE; by developing digital training and coaching; by ramping up access to private-sector advisers; and by significantly increasing the investment in the Regional Business Partner voucher system, with more than 11,000 companies receiving these services.
“And, thirdly, Scale, which has meant employing 37 more people to support customers directly, most of them in overseas posts, to help exporters when they can’t travel to market themselves. We have also increased the amount of co-investment with companies by doubling the International Growth Fund, to a total of $60 million available to be approved this year.
“In each of these areas, we have a particular focus on supporting Māori companies and investors, and have continued to grow and develop our internal Maori Team, Te Pora Maori.”
Chrisp provided the committee with details of NZTE’s initial Covid-19 response, which included a new website with detailed information from the agency’s teams around the world, so that exporters would have accurate up-to-date market information. To date this website has had 500,000 page views and is widely used.
NZTE also organised a Business Continuity service, partnering with professional service firms PWC, Deloitte and KPMG, and NZTE’s own people provided Cashflow Clinics. Together, they provided approximately 600 exporters with access to professional advice that would keep their businesses alive.
When passenger flights stopped – and prior to the Ministry of Transport’s International Airfreight capacity scheme being in place – NZTE jumped in to find a way to help airfreight-dependant exporters, underwriting 264 charter flights to key export markets including Shanghai, Hong Kong, LA, and San Francisco.
And in response to the acceleration to e-commerce, NZTE delivered more than 300 digital clinics, to coach exporters in how to enter and survive in these now crucial digital channels.
As part of NZTE’s ongoing support for exporters, and to keep the NZ Brand alive in international markets, it is leading a campaign called Made With Care, to support the food & beverage sector in the key markets of the US, Australia, UK, Japan, China and Singapore. As of last week, the Made with Care campaign had received 60 million impressions, with a reach of 18.5 million people.
Chrisp warned the Committee that business conditions were still difficult. “While these vary across sectors and markets, the simple reality is that no New Zealand export company is able to survive unless it adapts to the circumstances. This adaption continues.
“And there are still many issues in front of us now: access to markets; the changes within the markets themselves; supply chain disruption (both sea and air); digital e-commerce; the difficulty of travel.
“Across the Government agencies, and in the business community, we know what the issues are and are very focused on dealing with what we can see in front of us. It is also important to have the right mindset about the current situation. The Chinese character for crisis – 危机 – is made up of two characters: Danger and Opportunity, which is very apt for this time.
“Yes, there is lots of danger but, for the adaptable and committed, there are opportunities as well.”