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"Tell The Truth About The Trade Deficit"

The Green Party is challenging the National Government to tell visiting APEC leaders the truth about New Zealand's burgeoning trade deficit.

Statistics New Zealand announced today that the provisional merchandise trade balance for the year ended July was $1.71B. This compares with a deficit of $209M for the previous July year.

Figures were also released which show that the trade deficit with APEC nations stands at $1.768B (for the year to June), an increase of $619M over the previous June year.

"I want the Government to admit that its fixation with free trade has failed," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"On the eve of APEC the announcement that the latest deficit is 8½ times worse than the year before speaks for itself.

"What's more, most of the deterioration can be put down to the worsening gap in our trade with APEC economies.

"Clearly the New Zealand government will try to avoid the embarrassment of these figures becoming widely known amongst APEC leaders.

"However if they do get to hear about them, I'm sure the failure of the New Zealand experiment will reinforce the concerns of countries such as Japan which wants to move trade liberalisation down the APEC agenda and, instead concentrate on developing measures to bridge between the forum's rich and poor members.

"The Green Party certainly supports this move by Japan. Along with human rights abuses, the inequality between rich and poor, both between and within countries, is the biggest challenge facing democratic nations.

"Trade issues must always be secondary to achieving equity and justice," he said.


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