With the dollar so strong at the moment, I like so many people, are purchasing goods from America and around the globe on the internet. So it was over a few drinks (Aussie beer and NZ wine) with friends that the question of supporting locally produced versus imported goods was ‘debated’.

My stance always has been and will be in the belief of the free market. I don’t buy a product just because it is produced locally and I don’t think I should be made to feel guilty about it or pay extra! I am a firm believer in personal rights and freedoms in consumerism.

I purchase based on the factors of price, quality and convenience over the place of manufacture.

Now I am aware of the reasons to buy local of course, but with a family to feed and a budget how can I justify paying more for one product over another of equal quality just because it is produced locally? I will however pay more for quality regardless of anything else.

Sure if I had endless cash I would pay extra for more expensive local products than a cheaper imported product of equal quality, because I could afford to.

The thing that really annoys me is that a lot of these industries want to have their cake and eat it too. They want us and everyone they export to, to purchase their products. Let’s face it if everyone around the world bought locally our industries would have no export markets.

If the local wine industry (just as an example as one of many pushing buy local and because this was the catalyst for the debate in the first place) is so anti New Zealand whites coming in, then maybe they need to look at their own backyard first and do better for the consumer, instead of trying to make them feel guilty about their right to choose as a consumer. Maybe they should realise most consumers are going to purchase the best quality wine (or any product for that matter) at the best price regardless of parochial conscience.

I bet all Australian winemakers don’t buy just local products and drive just locally made Holden Commodores or Fords Falcons. Even with these two car companies most of their cars are made either partly or wholly overseas. And this is the point, imports create employment too.

There are hundreds of thousands of jobs created from wharfies and customs officers, to transport companies and small businesses that depend on the importation of goods.

As a consumer if you want my money, it is simple, all you have to do is offer me the best quality at the best price and if that is locally produced then even better!