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NZ First guilty of cruel hoax to workers

9 February 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

NZ First guilty of cruel hoax to workers over trade issues

The NZ First Party is playing a cruel hoax on working people with its alarmist and confusing statements aimed at sabotaging government efforts to get preferential trade access deals to China, the U.S. and elsewhere.

"NZ First's statements condemning efforts to secure fairer access for New Zealand exporters to expand into the Chinese, U.S. and other markets is an attack on New Zealand's ability to create more high-quality jobs for our people.

"The reality is that New Zealand slashed its tariff and non-tariff barriers to those countries' exporters to New Zealand during the 1980s and 1990s. And the short-lived, anti-New Zealand, National-led coalition government of 1996-1998 had a plan to unilaterally cut all New Zealand tariff rates to zero without any offsetting government investment policies to help our industry sectors adjust.

"NZ First sat in a coalition government that did nothing to support New Zealand industry and workers. It sat in a government of zealots that fantasized about unilaterally reducing New Zealand tariffs without concurrently securing better access terms to Chinese, United States and other markets.

"It has taken the Labour-Progressive government to stand up for New Zealand's interests," Matt Robson said. "Our progressive government this week pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars support for the textiles, carpet, footwear and apparel sector to assist the sector better cope and compete in a global economy that is becoming increasingly competitive whether or not New Zealand enters any new bilateral trade deals.

"And the Labour-Progressive government is aiming to negotiate with other countries trade access deals which would see other nations' reduce their punitive barriers against New Zealand exports. We do that because we want to create even more jobs than the quarter of a million net new jobs already created in our economy since we came into government," the Progressive MP said.

New Zealand First and the Green Party this week issued press statements opposing efforts to reduce unfair, punitive Chinese trade barriers on New Zealand exports.

ENDS

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