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Clark: Labour stands beside NZ exporters

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said today that the new Labour government will stand beside the country’s small and medium-sized exporters with pragmatic policies to help them thrive.

Helen Clark was speaking before her visits to engineering firms Englefields and Glidepath in Auckland today.

“Glidepath Ltd is an export-oriented engineering company which is missing out on export orders because of the absence of adequate export credit guarantees in New Zealand. Glidepath is willing to discuss this problem with news media.

“Under National’s purist approach, our export sector has not done well enough, putting enormous pressure on the current account deficit, and ultimately eroding New Zealanders’ standards of living.

“In 1992 we exported over $2.2 billion more than we imported, but seven years later that figure has fallen to just $98 million.

“Many our best and brightest companies have left New Zealand. Companies that have relocated to Australia include Epiglass, Dorf Taps, Exonet and Bendon.

“The reasons for the departures of export-oriented companies are not hard to pinpoint. In Australia and just about every other developed country, governments actively support their exporters. Australia has its Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. The United States has the Export-Import Bank, and Britain has the Exports Credit Guarantee Department.

“Labour in government after 27 November will move in the same pragmatic direction, as part of our wider plan to develop industry and give our economy a fresh start.

“Under Labour, Trade New Zealand will develop appropriate export guarantee and export credit financing schemes to aid small and medium sized exporters.

“These schemes are important because in competitive markets our firms cannot afford to pull out when times are tough, such as during the recent economic crisis in Asia, and hope to re-enter at a later stage. As Australia has shown, these forms of assistance to exporters allow firms to remain committed, protect market share and seize opportunities when the recovery in overseas markets arrives.

“Pragmatism, not purism, is the driving force behind Labour’s industry and economic policies. That’s why Labour will also put a five-year freeze on tariff reductions, and pass legislation to rebuild the apprenticeship system wrecked by National in the early 1990s. That’s why Labour in government will establish Industry New Zealand to facilitate and support industry development in all regions of the country.

“Labour’s fresh start, and new direction in industry and economic policy, will help our exporters to enjoy the success they deserve,” Helen Clark said.

Contact: Mike Munro, 025 428 835 or David Lewis, 025 409 492

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