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Labour Sells Our Soles Short

Labour sells our soles short

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says the Fabia Shoe factory in Te Kuiti is the latest casualty of the Government's cruel plan to slash tariffs on imported footwear.

Tomorrow the factory is to close and 27 workers made redundant, on top of 30 who were laid off last year.

Rod Donald, Green Trade and Regional Development Spokesperson, said when he visited the Fabia factory in 1998 "it had 60 workers and was a vibrant and efficient business. Labour's original tariff freeze gave Fabia a stay of execution, but now the Government is determined to end the freeze along with the employment of 27 workers and the economics hopes of a town.

"Fabia Shoes has been forced out of business because of unfair competition from cheap, sweatshop-manufactured products. New Zealand workers should not and cannot compete with, or be forced to adopt, third world working conditions.

"The Labour Government is sacrificing jobs and livelihoods on the altar of free trade."

Fabia Shoe factory has not been the only domestic footwear manufacturer to close its doors this year. CMT and Marrow Taylor, both of Auckland, have also been pushed to the wall by the Government's heartless policies.

"Where does the Government's decision to slash tariffs fit into its much-vaunted regional development strategy? Provincial towns like Te Kuiti are reliant on small businesses, but are only being prescribed a cruel course of industry euthanasia.

"I urge the Government to reverse its decision on tariff reductions, before the domestic textile, clothing and footwear industry is wiped out completely," concluded Mr Donald.

ENDS


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