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Trans Tasman Trade at risk

Media Release Monday, September 17th, 2001

Business alarmed at worsening trans Tasman relations

Exporters have been calling the Employers & Manufacturers Association today expressing deep concern over the potential backlash in Australia against New Zealand products due to the collapse of Ansett Airlines.

Australia is New Zealand's largest export market, Trans tasman trade including over $3 billion in services is now worth $14 billion annually according to figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Its rate of growth annually has been nearly 12 per cent for a decade.

"The CER partnership has delivered wealth and well being to all Australians and New Zealanders but we have an obligation to ensure all our people in both countries appreciate the extent of the benefits we have enjoyed from it," said EMA's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

"But business confidence is fragile, and the international situation jittery.

"EMA is talking to Air New Zealand, the Government, our legal advisors over liability in Australia, exporters and a cross section of our members to understand the risks we are facing, and how we can minimise them.

"We are exploring the damage that might occur if we were to lose substantial trans Tasman cargo capacity.

"Australia and New Zealand are more than good neighbours. We've played on the same team in every arena right from the beginning. Our good relationship must survive the present upset."

Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (b) 09 303 3951 (h) 025 982 024

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