What did YOU do in the balance of payments crisis?
Jim Anderton MP Thu Sep 9 1999
'New Zealander productive sector, our businesses, and each New Zealand citizen is servicing a massive $7 billion dollars balance of payments debt - what are you going to tell your grand children you did about it?' Alliance leader Jim Anderton challenged the National party.
He was responding to a National party led attack on the launch yesterday of the Alliance plan to deal to the ballooning debt.
The balance of payments debt is a result of living beyond our means and spending $7000 million more than we earn overseas.
'The National party and its supporters can ignore the debt if they want, but it won't win them any votes from New Zealand business at the next election.
'The removal of tariffs has cost at least 25,000 jobs in New Zealand so far. National wants to destroy another 33,000 jobs if re-elected.
'Fixing the balance of payments deficit would create 26,000 new jobs and protect the 33,000 jobs under threat, while reducing the debt.
'New Zealand's productive sector and our businesses are paying the biggest price in higher interests rates as a result of the debt. This amounts to a tax on business.
'$7 billion dollars a year is a lot of money. Someone has to pay, and it's New Zealanders. And guess where that money goes? All of it, straight overseas.
'The interest alone costs us more than the revenue we would raise from a modest 5% increase in tariffs, which would only marginally effect the price of some imports.
'National's mis-information machine is working over-time. Yesterday they claimed that families would be paying $196 a week extra as a result of Alliance policies. Wrong. An average family would have to spend $3,920 a week on imported goods for that to be true.
'Today John Luxton claimed the cost of tractors would increase by 20%. Wrong. Tractors made in Australia will have no increase and other imports will only have a 5% increase. Where did the extra 15% come from?
'Max Bradford claims we're bashing business. Wrong. They are the business-bashers His government has slashed tariffs and virtually destroyed New Zealand clothing and manufacturing businesses by making them compete with workers earning only 50 cents an hour.'
Jim Anderton, once again challenges the government to debate tariffs anywhere, anytime in any electorate of their choosing.
Manufacturers and businesses contactable for comment on Alliance policy:
John Hesketh, clothing manufacturer - (07) 8468100
Mike Langhorn, tapestry knitwear - (09) 273 9669
Philip Verissimo, Verissimo engineering - (09) 267 0270)