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Twenty years of CER: counting the cost


Twenty years of CER: counting the cost

Green Co-leader Rod Donald today hailed the 20 years of Closer Economic Relations as a huge triumph - for Australia.

"Unfortunately, it has been two decades of one-way traffic," said Rod Donald. "Our money, heading across the Tasman and into Australian pockets. Our businesses, falling into Australian ownership. Our sovereignty, being handed over to the Australian Government."

"Fact: New Zealand has recorded a trade deficit with Australia in 18 of the 20 years of CER.

"Fact: the cumulative deficit is now $9.3 billion in Australia's favour.

"When I quizzed members of the Australia-New Zealand Business Council on the benefits to this country of CER, they could find only one study - and it showed that the trade agreement was of more benefit to Australia than New Zealand.

"Prior to CER we exported more food to Australia than we imported. Now we are in deficit. This reversal has a lot to do with formerly New Zealand companies like Aulsebrooks, Watties and Goodman Fielder being taken over and their manufacturing base shifting to Australia.

"Now our ability to make our own decisions about food standards has been usurped by Australian-based rules bodies.

"The first trans-Tasman regulatory authority, ANZFA (now Food Standards Australia New Zealand) makes laws that are binding on this country, but allows New Zealand just a single vote on the 10-member ministerial council, relegating us to the same status as an Australian state or territory.

"The Green Party rejects any further economic or political integration, such as monetary union, because the experience of the last 20 years confirms that New Zealand's sovereignty and economy have been exploited by CER.

"We call on Helen Clark to stop New Zealand from becoming the seventh state of Australia by default, and to not enter into any new commitments when she meets John Howard this weekend.

"As the Anzac display at the Australian War Memorial museum in Canberra reads: 'Our futures will be together as two strong and independent nation states'." For the Greens' position on CER, see http://greens.co.nz/docs/bills/0006cer_sub.htm

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