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National To Rebuild International Reputation

18 July 2002

National To Rebuild International Reputation

"For New Zealanders to enjoy better jobs and a higher standard of living we need to secure and grow our trade," says National's Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Lockwood Smith.

Dr Smith says the focus of National's Foreign Affairs and Trade Policy is aimed at more actively advancing New Zealand's interests in the world.

"As a trading nation, New Zealand has much to gain from the dismantling trade barriers. However, to achieve this we need to be able to work constructively with like-minded countries.

"Unfortunately, there is now clear evidence that our relationships with our closest friends and allies - Australia and the US - have been damaged during the term of this Labour Alliance Government.

"We are now seeing consequences of this as Australia seeks to achieve a free trade agreement with the US ahead of New Zealand. Only National has the track record to repair these damaged relationships and advance New Zealand's trade interests."

Dr Smith says included in National's plans to rebuild our relations with Australia are plans for a new cabinet post - Minister Responsible for the Relationship with Australia, increasing New Zealand's diplomatic representation at state level and building on CER to help solve long-standing issues.

Meanwhile, he says there is also a job to do in smoothing and restoring New Zealand's relations with the United States.

"From being in the vanguard of developments on trade with the US during the last National-led government, we have fallen to the point where we are now struggling to make the list of possible bilateral FTA (free trade agreement) partners.

"National will rebuild the relationship with the US in a manner supported by New Zealanders and we'll work to achieve a bilateral free trade agreement with America, or a three-way deal with Australia.

"We will pursue further trade opportunities with other countries as they develop. National will also actively participate, foster and promote the liberalisation of international through appropriate bodies such as the WTO and APEC.

"New Zealand's future prospects are inextricably linked with expanding and promoting our trading opportunities. National's Foreign Affairs and Trade policy key objectives are firmly focused on developing and creating these opportunities," Dr Smith says.

Ends


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