We've heard #shoplocal, but perhaps this global recession can paint a better picture of why this sentiment is so important. Just like playing a game of Jenga, all of our economies are built up on one another. So when some of the foundational 'blocks' like China and America go down, we all go down.
When you #shoplocal and support small businesses, you are making our country more self sustainable. Your hard earned dollars don't pass through hands to end up in some off-shore bank account. Your spend creates jobs, and those employees spend in *their* communities, spreading your money around. The circulation of your money keeps the tax in our country and pays for builds like our public healthcare system. When you shop local, your money keeps this country, and all of her people, supported.
97% of New Zealand businesses are "small businesses" (!!!) These tiny business create 1/3 of all of our jobs, and make up a 1/4 of our GDP ($$$) In these uncertain times, these figures spook me because I know that recessions make small businesses so vulnerable, and yet small businesses are crucial to our economic stability.
It makes you think; When we get out of this lockdown, what kind of world do we want to live in? We could continue life as usual, or we could use our most powerful tool - our consumer dollars - to return the power from international companies back to our community, our industries, our taxes, our jobs, our neighbours.
This is why I always choose to shop locally. Instead of Australia's Countdown, I switched to Foodstuffs (New World / Four Square / Pak'n Save). When I need to buy a gift, I go to owner-operated shops like The Women's Bookshop. When I am hungry, I don't go to a drive through but will pull over to a little cafe. It's honestly a pleasure to do these things. As a business owner, I know that somedays those extra sales can make all the difference.
New Zealand once had a wealth of manufacturing and industry, but our market was too small to be sustained, so our government allowed imported goods to be sold in competition which inadvertently closed a lot of our businesses down, erasing full industries. So now, instead of having jobs in manufacturing in times of crisis, we have jobs in distribution facilities packing the cheap goods made from exploited labour and unsustainable production for bigger, international companies that are crumbling due to the global market.
Be encouraged and be provoked. After all, every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we want to live in! And I want to see Aotearoa become more self-sustainable and flourish.