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Labour Shows Sheer Stupidity On Trade

MEDIA STATEMENT

8 July 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Labour Party has demonstrated its sheer stupidity and short-sightedness by suggesting that President Clinton should stay away from APEC in New Zealand according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

"The Labour Party's reaction to the US Government's decision to impose trade restrictions on New Zealand lamb exports is foolish, short-sighted, and demonstrates the precise behaviour that saw them drive the US-New Zealand relationship into disarray in the 1980s," said Dr Smith.

"The Government takes the introduction of new trade restrictions against our lamb producers very seriously. We've already formally advised US Ambassador Josiah Beeman of New Zealand's intention to take a WTO action against this decision, and met with legal advisers and meat industry and farming leaders to discuss New Zealand's response.

"For their part, Labour have blundered into the debate and shown that they've learnt nothing since they were last in Government.

"Labour left New Zealand's relationship with the US in tatters last time they were in Government, and today's statements show that if given the chance, they'd do it all over again.

"Their immaturity and lack of understanding of Foreign Affairs and Trade is astonishing.

"Notwithstanding the bitter taste left by President Clinton's decision today, we must not lose sight of the importance of the US market for New Zealand farmers, producers, and exporters. Rebuffing its leader will achieve nothing for New Zealand producers further damage our market opportunities in the US.

"Under Labour, New Zealand's exporters may as well shut up shop, because it's clear that they'd escalate every trade setback into a major diplomatic disaster," Dr Smith concluded.

ENDS

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