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Helen Clark ignores the plight of NZ traders

John Luxton

National International Trade Negotiations Spokesperson

Monday 11 September 2000


Helen Clark ignores the plight of NZ traders

It is deeply disturbing that the Prime Minister doesn't understand or acknowledge the difficulties facing New Zealand traders with the depreciating New Zealand dollar, National International Trade Negotiations Spokesperson John Luxton said today.

"This morning talking to Paul Holmes on Newztalk ZB Helen Clark downplayed the Kiwi dollar's decline against the US dollar, saying it didn't matter much because not many of our imports came from the United States.*

"Helen Clark is ignoring the fact that, wherever they come from, many of our imports are traded in US dollars.

"Increasingly we are sourcing raw materials and big-ticket items in US dollar, so of course our depreciation of 18.8 percent against the US$ matters

"But Helen Clark also overlooks the fact that the New Zealand dollar has devalued significantly against the currencies of our main trading partners.

"It's ridiculous to say we have a 'reasonable relationship' with the currencies of our trading partners when we are down by 18.8 percent against the Yen and 11 percent down against the Trade Weighted Index.

"Unless she can get herself some lessons in economics, Helen Clark should stay out of the issue.

"In the meantime, her comments are damaging - and all New Zealanders are becoming poorer as a result as the dollar continues its slide," Mr Luxton said.

Ends

* "The key thing is, I suppose, that of course we don't source anything like a major proportion of our imports from the US so the other currencies wee import from, we've still got a reasonable relationship with." - Helen Clark, Newztalk ZB, Monday 11 September

ENDS


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