Talk of the United States becoming more isolationist under a Trump administration should not hurt North Otago’s strong agricultural backbone, Labour’s economic development spokesman and Dunedin North MP David Clark says.
North Otago is hugely reliant on primary industries such as farming for jobs and economic health.
Dr Clark said if any trade barriers went up, New Zealand would work to diversify its trade partners.
Last year he travelled with a trade delegation to Iran.
He said Iran alone represented about 90 million people and was once New Zealand’s fifth-biggest trading partner. While that figure had faded, it could grow again, he implied.
Dr Clark said dairy behemoth Fonterra, which has a factory at Studholme, had easy access to 13% of the world dairy demand. There was a long way to go for New Zealand to maximise its opportunities in the market, but that meant there was room for growth if a traditional trading partner fell away.
“New Zealand needs to diversify its export business.
“New Zealand has faced export restrictions before and our exporters are resilient. What is needed is to strengthen our trade. We need strong representation overseas.”