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Greens Upside Down on Free Trade

15 January 2004

PR 011/04

Greens Upside Down on Free Trade

Free trade is not bad for New Zealand says Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr Lambie was responding to claims by Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald that allowing international ships to shift domestic cargo around New Zealand is bad for the economy.

"The removal of the restriction of coastal shipping to New Zealand owned and crewed ships produced significant benefits. Standard cost reductions of 25 percent were achieved with some savings at high as 40 percent. There were significant increases in service levels with many new direct coastal services where there had previously been no service.

"The free trade policies of past and current governments have played a significant part in the prosperity New Zealand currently enjoys. The Green's claim shippers face unfair competition from overseas shippers - but the shipping industry position is no different from any other NZ business. Importers and exporters alike have to compete against products and services produced in countries with differing costs, wage rates and taxes. For New Zealanders to compete, freight rates must remain competitive.

"The Green Party must get real and recognise they are helping no one with their opposition to open competition," concluded Mr Lambie.

ENDS


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