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Halving of wine promotion budget hypocritical

Nick Smith
National MP, Nelson
Sunday 26 March 2000

Halving of wine promotion budget hypocritical

The Government is halving its contribution to the export promotion of wine - despite all its rhetoric about regional development and support for exporters -- Nelson MP Nick Smith said today.

"I am astonished at this move from a Government that has made so much noise about supporting growing industries. It contradicts everything they have been saying," Mr Smith said.

"The New Zealand wine industry has been hugely successful in exporting. Overseas sales have grown from $18 million in 1990 to $147 million last year.

"The decision to slash the Government contribution to export promotion from $150,000 to $75,000 is short-sighted. The Trade New Zealand investment is small but significant.

"The cut is totally at odds with the Government's rhetoric. Only last Friday, Finance Minister Michael Cullen was urging exports to do better to close the trade deficit. Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton has talked in overdrive about helping the regions through working with industry, yet this move will harm regions like Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Nelson.

"Only last week Prime Minister Helen Clark was in Marlborough promising extra support for wine exporters. The Government seems to be saying one thing and doing the opposite.

"I urge the Government to reconsider this decision. The wine industry is doing everything this country needs. It is expanding overseas markets, employing more people, adding value and contributing wealth to the regions. These funds are the only direct support from Government to the wine industry and must be retained."

Ends

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