NZ Farmers Sold Out Over US Lamb Tariffs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8th July 1999
New Zealand First has accused the government of selling out New Zealand farmers over the new United States penalties on our lamb.
The leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, today said the announcement brought into question the competence of Mrs Shipley and her International Trade Minister in accepting unilateral restrictions on the import of NZ lamb.
"This government preaches the importance of free trade to anyone who will listen, and Mrs Shipley led us to believe she had trade matters under control when she met President Clinton earlier this year.
"It is obvious that Mr Clinton has not taken the slightest bit of notice of Mrs Shipley who might as well have saved the cost of an international toll call to him.
"The imposition of tariffs on New Zealand lamb is not just something that has happened in isolation.
"Our industries and farmers have been standing naked and exposed to the chill winds of free trade, while the big players are looking after their own interests.
Mr Peters said the new measures hit existing trade, by an import tax of about thirteen million dollars, and will also block any increase in New Zealand lamb exports to the United States.
He said the $(US)100 million assistance package for American sheep farmers was also cold comfort to the industry in New Zealand.
"Mrs Shipley's grandstanding APEC photo opportunity later this year is starting to look a bit sick, and she should think of pulling the TV ads promoting it.
"She should think of giving some of money that will be spent on wining and dining APEC delegates back to the struggling farmers," said Mr Peters.