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Free Trade Failure More Damaging Than Rugby

24th July 2002

Free Trade Failure More Damaging Than Rugby – Lockwood Smith

Just as Rugby Union heads have rolled over their failure to sub-host the Rugby World Cup, Labour Party heads should also roll over their failure to get New Zealand on America's free trade shortlist, says National’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Lockwood Smith.

“US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has already announced Australia is on the list, but his silence on New Zealand is ominous. New Zealand has been specifically left off the list.

“The Rugby World Cup fiasco will cost New Zealand tens of millions of dollars. The NZRFU instituted an independent inquiry and has acted on its findings. However Labour's failure to get us on the shortlist alongside Australia will cost this country a hundred times as much as the Rugby fiasco.

“We need an independent inquiry, led by someone like Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, to examine the reasons for Labour's failure to get us on the US free trade list and to make recommendations to the Government before it's too late.

“If the Rugby Union had admitted to the problems and taken action earlier the World Cup fiasco could have been avoided. While Helen Clark refuses to acknowledge the problems within the US free trade deal, and fails to take urgent action New Zealand risks losing billions of dollars in future earnings,” said Dr Smith.


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