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Clark's Comments On FTA: Absurd And Inappropriate

Clark's Comments on FTA: Absurd and Inappropriate

Monday 18 Nov 2002 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Prime Minister Helen Clark's claim that ACT and National do not want a free trade agreement for party political reasons is absurd and not an appropriate comment for a prime minister to make, ACT New Zealand Leader Richard Prebble said today.

"The previous National administration invested considerable effort in attempting to achieve a free trade agreement with the United States, which has been the number one objective for successive governments.

"The New Zealand Treasury has confirmed research that indicates that should the US sign a free trade agreement with just Australia, it will be a very significant economic setback for this country. New Zealand manufacturers would have to relocate across the Tasman.

"I was present at the recent function for Rt Hon Mike Moore when Michael Stanley - the US businessman who heads the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand - delivered the message he had been given by the US administration: there is no way New Zealand will be included in the US-Australia free trade talks until we confront the nuclear issue.

Dr Cullen - Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister - also recently publicly admitted that the nuclear issue is preventing New Zealand from participating in US-Australia free trade talks.

"ACT New Zealand is leading on this issue because the public is entitled to know the facts. The country is entitled to know that the Government's own scientists have said there is virtually no risk should a nuclear-powered ship visit, and that Auckland Hospital emits more radiation in a day than the entire US fleet in a year.

"I believe that Helen Clark also has a duty to point out that if New Zealand does fail to get a free trade agreement, this will have a great impact, and not just on the standard of living of ordinary families. A poorer New Zealand will have difficulty lowering hospital waiting lists, providing world-class education, and security for our elderly in their retirement," Mr Prebble said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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