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Time to face facts over $2.8 billion trade deficit


25 July, 2003

Time to face facts over $2.8 billion trade deficit Attn: Business / Financial Editors

The announcement today of New Zealand's second largest June year trade deficit in our history should be of major concern to the Government and the whole country, said Green Co-Leader Rod Donald.

Statistics New Zealand have reported that the June month trade deficit was $230 million, the worst since 1960 when statistics were first collected. This contributed to the June year trade deficit of $2,883 million, the second largest since records began.

"After two years in the black New Zealand's trade balance is back to being seriously in the red again," said Mr Donald.

"It's time we faced facts: our dollar is over valued, we are importing too many things we should be making ourselves, clogging up our roads with too many imported second hand cars and burning through too much imported fuel to run them."

The import stats reveal that car imports were $3,294 million for the year to June, 48 per cent more than four years ago, and crude oil imports were $1,963 million, 120 per cent more than four years ago.

"The Government needs to invest more in public transport because if it doesn't we will fill up our roads with even more cars belching out even more pollution," said Mr Donald.

"Import of consumption goods topped $8,000 million for the first time ever, 31 per cent more than four years ago.

"Many of these products used to be made in New Zealand and could be made here again if only the Government adopted a comprehensive import substitution strategy and promoted loyalty to New Zealand manufacturers and workers.

"New Zealand's trade deficit will only get worse if companies such as Macpac are forced to close down their New Zealand manufacturing operations and become importers rather than exporters."

ENDS


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