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Clark putting politics ahead of country

Clark putting politics ahead of country

National’s Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says Prime Minister Helen Clark is putting politics ahead of New Zealand’s interests in calling for Tim Groser to step down as chairman of the Agriculture Committee at The World Trade Organisation.

“Tim Groser’s position is not a political one. Both the National and Labour parties know that the work he is doing for New Zealand right now in Geneva is of the utmost importance for our future.

“The trade talks are worth billions to us and will ultimately affect the living standard of every New Zealander. The work of the Agriculture Committee is at the heart of progress. If the Agriculture Committee fails, the entire Doha trade round will fail.

“Helen Clark is seriously mistaken if she thinks Mr Groser does not enjoy the respect and support of the 148 members of the WTO.

“The only member countries who might, in the short term, benefit from Helen Clark’s undermining of Mr Groser would be those who want to protect their agricultural sector from our more efficient agricultural trade. For Helen Clark to give comfort to such countries would be the height of disloyalty to her own country.

“Mr Groser has every right to stand for Parliament. Since his work is bipartisan, the only explanation for her seeking to undermine him is simply a fit of pique that maybe she can’t manipulate whoever she chooses.

“His role as chairman of the Agriculture Committee is not a New Zealand government appointment. When Helen Clark and Jim Sutton try to undermine him, they risk doing serious damage to our economic interests and our international reputation in world trade affairs.

“National is putting New Zealand’s interests first in allowing him to continue his very important work in Geneva while serving as an MP,” Dr Smith says.


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