Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Labour's U-Turn On Tariffs

20 October 1999

Labour's U-Turn On Tariffs Would Not Save New Zealand Jobs

Michael Cullen's acknowledgment that a Labour Government would reverse legislation to abolish tariffs on imports would not save New Zealand jobs, according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

Labour's Finance Spokesperson Michael Cullen said today that a Labour Government would "hold tariffs for five years, unless our trading partners start catching up with us, in which case we will resume a faster rate of tariff reductions".
"Michael Cullen clearly misunderstands the basic principles of economics. Removing tariffs is not a strip-tease with our trading partners - we are progressively dismantling import tariffs because they are a tax on our farmers, business-people, and most importantly, New Zealand families," said Dr Smith.

"Independent research conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research found that reducing tariffs in just four sectors - cars, household appliances, clothing and footwear - has given a three-person household in New Zealand an additional $22 per week. The research shows that by 2010, the gains could be as high as $42 per week for every family.

"Cullen's comments don't signal a 'holding pattern'. In order to hold tariffs at their current levels, a Labour-Alliance Government would need to repeal the Tariff (Zero Duty) Amendment Act which provides a time-line for eliminating all import tariffs by 2006.

"In coalition with the Alliance, Labour may find in repealing this Act, Mr Anderton may require implementation of the Alliance's five percent tariff on all goods and services, except those imported from Australia. As well as losing the $42 benefit of future tariff reductions, New Zealand families could expect to pay at least five percent more for everyday goods including petrol, family cars, computers, and children's clothes and shoes.

"Dr Cullen and Mr Anderton's logic is flawed. Re-introducing tariffs will not save New Zealand jobs. In fact, it will cost jobs as tariffs will make New Zealand businesses less competitive. Since 1991, 268,000 jobs have been created under the National-led Government, and our decision to reduce tariffs has played a key role in this positive outcome.

"While today's Bendon announcement is deeply regrettable, some change is inevitable as New Zealand succeeds in becoming a truly knowledge driven economy. Sensible Governments react to change through policies that ease the plight of those in the front-line of adjustment. However Labour appear to want to stunt these changes through the re-introduction of tariffs.

"Labour's announcement today is a significant policy shift from its former position when Mike Moore was trade spokesperson, and signals a disturbing trend of the Labour Party's willingness to make significant concessions to Alliance policy," Dr Smith concluded.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election