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Time to Repair US Relationship

Tuesday 16 Sep 2003
Richard Prebble
Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today that the ACT Party is using its oral question to point out that the New Zealand government no longer has a viable trade position.

"Earlier this year Helen Clark announced that an FTA with the United States of America was the government's number one foreign policy and trade objective. Injudicious statements by the Prime Minister suggesting that Vice President Gore would have made a better president put paid to any prospect of a New Zealand/United States free trade agreement.

"We were then told that the government strategy was to support the Doha Round. Now that the World Trade talks have collapsed the government has been left with no trade policy.

"The United States has already publicly stated that its strategy will be, if the Doha talks do not proceed, to do bilateral agreements. Of the 17 members of the Cairns Group who have not joined the new G22 group, only New Zealand has not taken the precaution of obtaining an agreement with the United States to negotiate a bilateral agreement.

"The true cost of Labour's diplomacy is now coming home.

"The ACT Party can raise the issue because we have consistently called on the government to repair New Zealand's relationship with USA. This is the reason that only ACT has the credibility to ask the government a question in parliament on the issue that is going to affect the future standard of living of every New Zealander.

"It's time that National stopped reviewing its policy with regard to the United States and came out and supported ACT's call for New Zealand to rejoin ANZUS.

"ACT is also seeking an urgent debate on the issue," said Mr Prebble.



16 September 2003
Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Parliament Buildings

Dear Mr Speaker

Re: Collapse of World Trade Talks

I seek an urgent debate under Standing Order 382 on the collapse of the World Trade Talks in Cancun, Mexico.

This is a recent event that does involve the administrative and ministerial responsibility of the Government, and requires the immediate attention of the house.

As a trading nation, issues of trade access have a profound effect upon the country.

The government's whole trade policy has now collapsed. New Zealand alone amongst the Cairns group, is not either a member of the G22 group of developing countries, or does not have a prospective bi-lateral deal with the USA.

In short the government no longer has a viable trade policy. It is important that the house debates what stance the government should take.

No doubt the government is already discussing the issue. As the New Zealand Herald editorial puts it - "The sombre outlook makes it imperative that the government repairs its relationship with Washington".

Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble CBE
Leader, ACT New Zealand

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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