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Debate urged on Govt's 'heartless' tariff plan

Greens urge debate on Government's 'heartless' tariff plan

The Green Party has requested an urgent debate in Parliament to discuss the Government's decision to slash tariffs in half when the current freeze ends in 2005.

Green Co-leader Rod Donald has submitted a letter seeking an urgent debate, saying Labour's plan to cut tariffs in 2005 places at risk the jobs of thousands of New Zealanders.

"It's a heartless retrograde step on the part of the Government," said Mr Donald. "There's absolutely no need to cut tariffs and every reason to keep them in place.

"To justify cutting tariffs with claims that clothing will be cheaper ignores the fact that many kiwis will have no choice but to buy cheap imports when their jobs in the manufacturing sector disappear because of tariff cuts.

"Meanwhile, we're not doing third world workers any favours because they continue to be exploited through appalling wages and poor working conditions."

Mr Donald urged the Government to realise the gravity of its decision.

"The Government and New Zealand consumers should realise that the cheapest price is not always the best deal in the long run.

"It's time Labour rediscovered its roots and protected the jobs of working people in New Zealand instead of kowtowing to the free market ideology.

"Labour's decision is what you would expect from a National government," said Mr Donald.

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