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Labour Hopelessly Divided On International Trade


10 July 1999


Labour Hopelessly Divided On International Trade Policy

Labour Leader Helen Clark's approach to trade policy barely obscures her party's hopeless divisions over international trade policy, according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

"Earlier this week, Jim Sutton called for US President Bill Clinton to stay away from APEC because of the US decision to place trade restrictions on New Zealand lamb exports," said Dr Smith.

"But today we see that while Helen Clark thinks Mr Clinton should come to APEC, she also says that the US President 'would not exactly be welcome'.

"New Zealand currently enjoys excellent relations with other countries. We are able to stand tall because we don't engage in empty rhetoric or stoop to pettiness to appeal to a domestic audience.

"Ms Clark's comments are preposterous, and show Labour's lack of commitment to a sound trade policy for New Zealand

"In February 1999, Helen Clark said that APEC was "running out of steam". Just last week, New Zealand showed the world that APEC has a full head of steam, but the Labour Party is too petty to acknowledge this.

"Helen Clark's attempt to have it both ways on trade policy is a poor attempt to obscure the deep divisions within her own caucus on trade policy.

"While there are free traders within Labour front bench, the antipathy toward trade liberalisation within the majority of Labour's caucus is one of Parliament's worst kept secrets," said Dr Smith.

"Last time Labour was in Government, our relationship with the US was in tatters. Jim Sutton's comments and Helen Clark's meaningless response show that given the opportunity, the Labour Party would again destroy our trade relationship with the United States," Dr Smith concluded.


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