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Free Trade rules OK

Yesterday's extraordinary $2.2 billion trade deficit has been described by the Green Party as the final nail in the Government's free trade coffin.

"How long can Government apologists Lockwood Smith and John Luxton keep a straight face and promote the virtues of free trade, in the light of the latest appalling trade figures?" Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said.

The trade deficit for the September year was $2.226 billion.

"The trade deficit not only impacts on the current account deficit - which, in turn, is so high that New Zealand has now reached the status of a basket-case economy - it also represents consumer goods we now import which we used to make ourselves.

"According to BERL, 20 jobs disappear for every million dollars of consumer goods we import. If our trade had been in balance for the year to December there would have been 44,000 more jobs in the New Zealand economy," Mr Donald said.

The Green Party's solution to the free trade crisis was the promotion of the 'Buy Local' and 'Buy New Zealand made' campaigns.

"We need to become more self-reliant by reducing our dependence on imported food, clothing and other consumer goods. Otherwise the trade deficit and unemployment will climb.

"We need a new government to provide some commonsense on this issue. Free trade has failed New Zealand," Mr Donald said.


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