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Tariff deal shows Government’s true colours

John Luxton
Opposition International Trade Negotiations Spokesperson

Friday 24 March 2000

Tariff deal shows Government’s true colours

New Zealand families and manufacturers will be the losers from the Alliance’s victory over Labour in stalling tariff reductions, National International Trade Negotiations spokesperson John Luxton said today.

“Up front, without the flow-on effects, that decision will take at least $40 million a year out of the pockets of New Zealanders,” Mr Luxton said.

According to a National Business Review report, the Alliance has won out over Labour and secured a deal to freeze tariffs at 1999 levels for five years. Labour’s pre-election policy would have held tariffs at 2000 levels, allowing this year’s scheduled tariff drop from 19 percent to 15 percent on goods including imported shoes and clothing to go ahead.

“New Zealanders have really benefited the lower cost of imported goods. You only need to visit any Warehouse store to see that,” John Luxton said.

“Families living on a tight budget find it easier to get by thanks to the lower prices brought about by the successive tariff reductions that National instituted.

“They have also lowered costs of imported raw materials for manufacturers and farmers.

“The Alliance would rather erect trade barriers and pretend they are helping New Zealand businesses by shielding them from competition.

“If this secret deal between the Alliance and Labour is true, it is another sign of the Government showing its true colours.

“Many people were lulled into a false sense of security by Labour, believing it would be moderate and sensible. But day by day the Government is showing just how out of touch with reality it is.

“It perversely believes New Zealand families will be better off if they have to pay more for their imports,” Mr Luxton said.

Ends

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