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Brownlee, Donald to debate tariffs, not forests

16 May 2000

Brownlee, Donald to debate tariffs, not forests

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says he intends to debate the impact on West Coast jobs of successive governments’ tariff reduction policies, not the end of native forest logging when he faces off against National MP Gerry Brownlee on the West Coast.

“Brownlee seems to have got it into his head that we will be debating the Government’s green policies when we meet on the Coast,” Rod Donald said.

“I accepted Brownlee’s suggestion to a debate after he responded to my challenge to front up to the 18 Reefton clothing workers who lost their jobs because of his government’s tariff reduction policies.

“I have already suggested to Mr Brownlee that the debate topic should be ‘Buy New Zealand made is better than free trade’ and I hope he will accept. Reefton is a good place to hold the debate as it is a reasonable distance from both Wesport and Greymouth and it was the location of Lane Walker Rudkin’s last clothing factory on the Coast.

“LWR also had factories in Westport and Greymouth. Greymouth Apparel, which was started by redundant LWR workers, was forced out of business in 1998 because of tariff cuts inflicted by National.

“I’ll be more than happy to answer questions from the floor about other issues such as native forest logging on the West Coast and the potential for new jobs in other industries, especially tourism, but National’s extreme position on tariffs has put more people out of work in this country than preserving our remaining publicly-owned native forests ever will. On the other hand, Green Party policy to promote ‘Buy NZ Made’ and protect local jobs from sweat-shop imports is plain common sense,” he said.


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