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Greens' peasant village scenario threatens jobs

7 September 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Greens' peasant village scenario is the threat to jobs,
not a trade deal with China

Despite its Parliamentary research funding, the Green Party is not up to date on international trade and its value to New Zealand says Matt Robson.

"The Greens' co-leader Rod Donald told National Radio listeners this morning that the Greens in government would abandon efforts to get preferential access to overseas markets for New Zealand-based exporters and employers and they may ‘yet’ call for trade sanctions against countries like China.

"This is a kiwi peasant village mentality. Through trade and other polices, New Zealand can assist both itself and developing nations. As Oxfam says 'the lives of millions of people depend on trade'.

"Mr Donald’s assertion that New Zealand is in a race to the bottom in trading with Asian economies shows a lack of research. New Zealand's minimum wages have been increasing every year of progressive government, and now stand at nine dollars an hour. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years and living standards are improving. This government is turning the economy around into a sustainable, high value, high wage economy.

"Industries at risk from reduced tariffs have been supported by the Labour Progressive government to develop into high value export industries. The textile industry which Donald suggests is about to be obliterated has been turned around with pro-active support from government. in the last five years the textiles, clothing and footwear sector's exports have more than doubled, from $208 million to $439 million. Textiles New Zealand's work aims to see the sector generate annual exports of $1 billion by 2008.

"Import substitution, promoted by Mr Donald, is ineffective. Not only would New Zealanders pay more for low value goods, but living standards would suffer because those jobs and resources would be better utilised in high value production which pays better returns and wages.

"Rod Donald has indicated that any coalition government involving the Greens will put an end to efforts to lower barriers to our exports to the vast, growing Asian markets. He is risking kiwi jobs and effectively condemning the poor in Asia as well by refusing to trade with them.

"What he is really indicating is that New Zealand needs another Labour Progressive government next year," Matt Robson said.


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