Australia: More than just a big Auckland

Australia: More than just a big Auckland
After recent reports that Australian supermarkets were taking Kiwi products off their shelves, NZTE Australia and Pacific regional director Michelle Templer says there’s a perception New Zealand products are less welcome.

But in reality, that’s not the case, she says. “The big thing we’ve observed recently is that the companies who are committed to the market are still growing quickly in Australia,” she says. “It’s a fantastic market for New Zealand companies still getting to grips with emerging markets opportunities or looking for cash flow while some more traditional markets have gone through challenging fiscal constraints.”

Kiwis currently export over $2.6 billion worth of goods and services to Australia, but own only 16% of the total market those goods comprise – so there’s lots of room for growth. Australia is a natural choice for extending the domestic market, and there are many advantages to entry – not the least of which is that it’s relatively easy, thanks to the Closer Economic Relations agreement.

But Templer says there is a danger in treating our neighbour like “a big Auckland” and failing to understand its scale and complexity. It’s a huge country and cultural differences can be almost as vast as geographic ones. Instead of trying to cover the whole country at once, Templer recommends picking a state to target and expanding from there. As in other countries, New Zealand’s biggest export strength in Australia is in its value-added food and beverage products. But that’s not to say there isn’t opportunity in other categories, she says.

“New Zealand is seen as a leading example of integrated primary care and health informatics, delivering more efficient outcomes in patient care and wellbeing.” That’s important on the back of the $A140 billion the Australian government invests every year in health products and services. Fierce competition for customers means a ready market in Australia for technology products that give businesses an edge.

Fast-tracking Kiwi tech companies’ access to the Australian market is part of the reason behind NZTE’s collaboration with Melbourne’s York Butter Factory accelerator. “Australia is hungry for anything that improves competitiveness, cost efficiency and productivity,” Templer says. “There’s a real interest in effective technologies that deliver those outcomes and results.” ×