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Green co-leader Rod Donald said today's announcements of worsening current account and net debt levels confirms that the Labour Government is a glutton for punishment.

In the three months to the end of September New Zealand's current account deficit hit $2.3 billion, half a billion dollars higher than the June quarter. Meanwhile New Zealand's net debt has increased from $97.7 billion to $99.6 billion.

"It seems that the more it hurts the more this Government likes it," said Mr Donald. "Helen Clark's obsession with a US free trade deal is the ultimate case in point.

"Ever since governments embraced free trade and foreign investment New Zealand's net debt has been going up because of never ending current account deficits," he said.

"Yet all this Government seems to want is more and more of it. I just don't get it.

"As a nation we are getting deeper and deeper into debt as we borrow to finance our consumption and sell our land and businesses to foreigners simply to stave off the inevitable."

Mr Donald said the debt and the deficits will only get worse unless the Government backs import substitution strategies and ditches its fixation with free trade.

"Today's current account deficit is a stark warning that, individually and as a country, we are living way beyond our means, and that the Government's current economic agenda is not sustainable.

"If this country was a business it would be bankrupt and those who run it would have been fired long ago," he said.


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