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PM Goes to New York and Finally Gets It

PM Goes to New York and Finally Gets It

It is pleasing to note the Prime Minister has finally recognised, accepted and conceded that the New Zealand economy will suffer significant damage if Australia enters a free trade agreement with the US and we don't, ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"Helen Clark's speech in New York to the Asia Society/US Chamber of Commerce Union Club (at 7am New Zealand time) graphically identified the looming problem with lost investment in New Zealand, and a widening economic gap between our nation and Australia.

"This will further compound the cross-Tasman brain drain, as companies and entrepreneurs relocate to take advantage of the new opportunities that will develop in Australia.

"Now that the Prime Minister has confronted the harsh reality, she should concentrate on the simple remedy: New Zealand must grow up, and remove from our statute books the meaningless and self-indulgent ban on nuclear-propelled ship visits. My Private Member's Bill will be before the Parliament in the new year, and this simple measure will ensure that New Zealand is placed on an equal footing with Australia to negotiate a free trade with USA, estimated to be worth well over one billion dollars to the New Zealand economy.

"The removal of this ban would also enable New Zealand to reactivate our contribution to the ANZUS defence alliance," Mr Shirley said.

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