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Lack of US trade deal a massive policy failure

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith - National Party Foreign Affairs & Trade Spokesman

2 February 2005

Lack of US trade deal a massive policy failure

National's Foreign Affairs & Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says the Prime Minister's admission that New Zealand is still waiting to enter trade negotiations with the United States represents a massive foreign policy failure.

"After all, Labour had identified this trade deal as its No 1 foreign policy objective.

"From January 1, Australian beef farmers have been receiving 6c to 7c per kg more than our farmers for beef going to the US. And in the next two years Australian farmers will get 20,000 tonnes more tariff-free beef into that market."

Dr Smith says the Prime Minister continues to surround New Zealand's relationship with the United States in bad odour.

"It's not just her insulting comments about an Al Gore-led White House not being in Iraq that has hurt, and continues to hurt, our chances of a trade deal, but this week, talking about the elections in Iraq, she said she was concerned that if the Sunni community did not vote then the winners of the election would not have a mandate to rule.

"Voting booths weren't provided for Iraqis in New Zealand. Iraqis here wanting to vote had to go to Australia," Dr Smith says.

"How does Helen Clark think Washington, not to mention Canberra, saw her mean-spirited comments and lack of support for democracy?

"American, British and Australian servicemen and women risked their lives and many have died to give the Iraqi people a chance for democracy for the first time in 50 years."

ENDS

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