Both AntiDismal and NotPC have it wrong, says me. Both of them correctly note that the 'Buy New Zealand Made' campaign - an ad campaign put in place by Labour as a sop to the Greens - was completely useless in affecting folks' consumption decisions.
But that didn't make it useless.
The biggest problem with MMP is the costly bargains main parties have to make with support partners. The more efficient that main parties are at creating symbols to placate support parties that have zero real world effect, the better. Yes, they can cost a bit of money in the budget; NotPC says the Buy NZ campaign cost somewhere around $10 million. But that's insanely cheap compared to other anti-trade policies. I cannot imagine a better piece of policy that buys off the Greens and the nationalists while having trivial deadweight costs. Yeah, so every tax dollar has a deadweight cost somewhere around thirty cents. So the policy cost $13 million all up, pure loss. But compared to hiking tariffs or abandoning the free trade deal with China? Priceless.
Always remind yourself how much worse things could be.