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Promises not worth the paper they're printed on

15 July 2005

Promises not worth the paper they're printed on

Apple growers should be wary of signed pledges, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton scoffed at the National Party's signing a pledge to take Australia to the World Trade Organisation's dispute panel if it wins the election as "just a stunt".

"Apple growers should remember that the last such contract Lockwood Smith signed was in 1990, promising tertiary students he would abolish tertiary student tuition fees. He failed to honour that one too."

Mr Sutton said there was no need to take a dispute case against Australia refusing to accept New Zealand apples because of the fireblight bacteria at the moment, as the WTO had already ruled comprehensively on the issue in a case between Japan and the United States.

"Our filing a case with the WTO sanitary and phytosanitary committee puts international pressure on Australia to apply that ruling in our situation as well.

"The National Party complaint that New Zealand has not joined the European Union challenge to the whole structure of Australia's SPS system is another example of Dr Smith opening his mouth before he engages his brains. The case, if successful, would demolish New Zealand's biosecurity defences along with Australia's. They are very similar systems, and there are plenty of countries who get frustrated at the time it takes us to develop quarantine protocols for their products as well."

ENDS

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