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Heed The Warning, Labour

Heed The Warning, Labour

Tuesday 23 Sep 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today advised the Government to heed the friendly warning from Australian High Commissioner Allan Hawke, who has observed that ANZAC relations are `finely poised on the fulcrum', and that our future relationship is anything but certain.

"We know our defence relationship has been on a divergent pathway, with the Labour Government abandoning our traditional allies in favour of obscure and nebulous international agendas," Mr Shirley said.

"However, what is of greatest concern is Mr Hawke's ponderings on a deterioration of Trans-Tasman trade relationships. New Zealand must ask itself if Australia is preparing to sacrifice CER as it forges ahead with a Free Trade Association with the US.

"It is widely accepted that CER will prove problematic for the Australia/US FTA, and we have benignly assumed we will benefit through indirect backdoor access - yet there may be an alternative agenda, involving the diminution of the CER agreement.

"While both the Australian and New Zealand economies have benefited from CER, it is New Zealand that has proportionately gained the most. Equally, Australia has much more to gain from an FTA with a much larger US market.

"We can no longer ignore the threats confronting us. It is now past time for us to review our ban on nuclear propulsion, which is the main obstacle to both the revitalisation of ANZUS and a joint FTA with Australia and the US.

"The recent European marketing survey must surely dispel any remaining doubts. This survey clearly showed that New Zealand's nuclear-free status contributes nothing to the image of our products, with the vast majority of Europeans surveyed being totally unaware of our nuclear position.

"It is time for the Labour Government to stop grandstanding on the nuclear issue, and face the realities of the real world. We have nothing to lose from reviewing our out-dated anti-nuclear policy, but everything to gain," Mr Shirley said.


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