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Labour's economic programme sorely needed

2000 web site "The latest trade results are an indictment of National's economic stewardship and further proof that Labour's economic programme is sorely needed," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.

"The figures show that exports are beginning to rebound, but the pick-up has been frustratingly slow. The slowness reflects the hollowing out of New Zealand's manufacturing base as companies have been forced to the wall or overseas at the cost of thousands of jobs.

"Much of the blame for this exodus rests with National, its mad crusade to lower tariffs faster and harder than the rest of the world and its hands-off substitute for an economic policy.

"Labour does not share National's lunatic belief that the best way to assist industry is to ignore it. Instead we see a positive leadership role for the government in nurturing innovative new enterprises and ideas," Dr Cullen said.

He was commenting on the Overseas Merchandise Trade result for September showing a provisional deficit for the quarter of $1.125 billion.

"Imports are continuing to outstrip export growth. Exports for the 1999 September quarter were 8.3 percent up on last year's September quarter figures but imports rose a whopping 17.6 percent over the same period.

"Further tax cuts will only aggravate the problem," Dr Cullen said.

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