GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Buy Local


Long before Covid -19 struck I had my “buy local” badge up on my Facebook page.
Why? Because it’s a subversive approach to curbing the increasing power of global companies like Amazon who plunder our economy but don’t pay taxes here and therefore don’t contribute the costs of infrastructure in our country and our well-being as a people.

Nor do they contribute significantly to local job creation in our country other than through courier and parcel handling work.

The mean trick globalized neoliberalism has managed to pull off over the last 30 odd years has been to lower wages ( to maximize profits for shareholders) but keep our consumer expectations high by engaging people in poorer economies to produce goods at far lower prices on incredibly low wages.(Thereby again maximizing profits for the shareholders).

As I said in my post yesterday ( and thank you to the many readers who responded to it) Covid- 19 has given us a moment to catch our consumer breath.

Yes, as some readers pointed out, NZ made goods may very well cost more in the short term but I think wages would also go up.

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Why? Because it is a basic tenet of economics that one person’s spending is another person’s income.

To break the cycle we would need revisit our Wants versus our Needs and be prepared to accept a reduction in the choice of goods available to us. But then how many different brands of T shirt do we actually need in our country and maybe a locally made quality T shirt is a better long term buying than 4 cheaper imported ones.

Globalised neoliberalism is the enemy invading our shores.
What can we do?
Answer – meet it head on by refusing to enter trade agreements that permit global financial elites to plunder our economy as part of the deal.

But also fight it by maximizing our individual consumer power because wars are often won by small acts of subversion behind enemy lines.

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


    • Most definitely citizens only and not citizens buying for others nor corporation buying up existing homes. No foreign ownership of land

  1. Sadly, it the globalisation has already gone too far and cannot be reversed. In the case of NZ manufacturing, which was booming in the 1970s, all the machinery has been sold to China or taken to the metal recylcers. And all the skilled people are now in their 60s to 90s or are dead.

    NZ has neither the equipment nor the expertise to do much manufacturing (and it pays to remember that manufacturing is very much part of the problem in a rapidly overheating world).

    None of that is to say we should not buy local: we certainly should! And we should be living far more natural lives, absent the unnecessary trappings of consumerism.

    The good news is, that is exactly where things are headed -with the globalised consumption system imploding as I write.

    • We can make clothing, shoes, furniture as well as light engineering as most plant is available if not found locally.
      A range of rural gear such as windmills, pumps, carts, trailers, plows, mowers and tractor accessories.
      Building trains is well within our resource and skill set.
      There are firms such as Dispatch and Garlick who are thriving today doing this stuff as they have for generation and even exporting.
      Hands on production does not come out of a university.

  2. The hoped for consequences of buying local may differ from the actual. The owner of a New Zealand business may welcome the increased profit, and instead of using it to boost staff wages, he or she may use it for the deposit on another residential rental property, thus helping to price you out of the market for a family home of your own.
    I fear you misapprehend the true character and motivations of the typical New Zealand capitalist, Bryan. Some are primarily concerned for the good of their employees, their country and their fellow New Zealanders, but most, sadly, are not.

    • Govt sponsored setting up of cooperatives gets past the greedy capitalist or corporate. Getting past the parasites is the road to better economic health and resilience

    • Sadly agree with this. Everything I have read has not been pro employment by business, it has been about increased profit and government subsidies. The irony to this is the right call those unable to work, bludgers.
      Before deregulation we did “buy local” but governments were hell bent on importing cheaper versions of products, spouting we can make your income go further. Now look where we are at. A large portion of cheap imports go very quickly to the tip whilst thousands upon thousands of industry related jobs have been lost since the nineties.

  3. Agree 100% but also business is so unregulated and contemptuous of service now in NZ that you can save money by not answering your phone for 5 hours to customers…. They actually force people to go to Amazon because they have abandoned customer service in NZ, that has been replaced by shareholder and CEO short term profits.

    Business don’t have to provide the goods and services that people paid for in NZ, if they don’t deliver them.

    Virgin Australia tells customers with cancelled flights it can’t give refunds or credit

    Unlike other counties which have laws to protect consumers.
    “Under the law, consumers are entitled to receive a refund for their cancelled flights, despite the challenges the industry is currently facing.”

    Power rip offs in NZ

    Way to be cleared for big electricity players to prey on low-income households

    NZ Power Companies are not even Compliant under EU and US Laws!

    Dump your waste in NZ, we will have years of committee meetings about it and then do nothing and leave the problem for someone else to deal with. Businesses don’t have to clean up here, as our government allows the ‘transfer’ of the problem to another company that then goes into liquidation.

    Mataura asks Govt to act

    “Those due money from collapsed oil and gas explorer Tamarind Taranaki aren’t likely to see any of the $360m the company owes, the boss of the New Plymouth chamber of commerce says.”

    Apparently 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s carbon emissions so why are they allowed to continue to profit from the rest of the world’s destruction?

    Energy is one of the worst industries for creating inequality and pollution so why do our government sign up when there are so many cheaper, cleaner methods like solar available now?

    • Energy is one of the worst industries for creating inequality and pollution so why do our government sign up when there are so many cheaper, cleaner methods like solar available now?

      Agree, SaveNZ, 1000%!

      (Once again fighting off despair that this has not yet begun to be addressed. ..While fully aware that if the Nats were to gain power in September, Muller is already committed to renewed Oil and Gas drilling – so we’re then, again, in free fall to disaster.)

      • We need to base planning for society on drastic reduction of energy use. Get your head around that if you can.

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