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Labour loses support of economic tail wind


Dr Hon Lockwood Smith - National Trade Spokesperson

The biggest quarterly drop in the price of our merchandise exports for 44 years signals the economic tail wind that has made governing so easy for Labour in its first term has died, says National’s Trade Spokesperson Lockwood Smith.

“It’s also our biggest fall in the country’s terms of trade for more than 12 years. The effects won’t be felt immediately but when dairy prices drop the most in 42 years and meat prices are down too, it will be felt sooner or later.

“What we’ve yet to see is how the Clark/Cullen Government will perform in more challenging economic times. When the dollar’s low, commodity prices are at record high and the weather is kind, it’s easy to govern. What’s worrying is that the first move we’ve seen from Dr Cullen, as he faces these changing trade realities, is the removal of the cap on government spending.

“That move is quite consistent with the former history lecturer’s personal views on counter-cyclical policy, but he has already increased New Zealand’s borrowing programme during the good times and if he plunges us into operating deficits his vision of seeing New Zealand in the top half of the OECD may be even more of a pipe dream than it already is under his existing policies,”says Lockwood Smith.

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