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Cullen Asked To Quit Bad Mouthing Exporters

MEDIA STATEMENT
25 November 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRADE MINISTER ASKS CULLEN TO QUIT BAD MOUTHING EXPORTERS

The Labour Party should stop talking down to exporters and quit bad mouthing their success, according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

“New Zealand’s trade balance has actually improved in October,” Dr Smith said.

“The statistics show that imports have dropped over the last month. We’ve also seen continued modest growth in exports for the third month in a row, and the value of our exports has increased over October 1998 by 6.8%,” Dr Smith said.

“Michael Cullen’s misleading statement on today’s statistics demonstrates his desperation to paint a negative picture of New Zealand in spite of evidence to the contrary, and his willingness to ignore our exporters’ success for political ends.

“I’m very proud of New Zealand’s exporters, who over the past couple of years have overcome the challenges of two record droughts and the Asian Economic Crisis.

“It’s our exporters, including small business-people who know what it takes to succeed in international markets, and Dr Cullen’s suggestion that he and Mr Anderton could do a better job of promoting exports doesn’t give credit where it’s due.

Dr Smith said that although today’s statistics showed that the value of imports remained high, the main contributer was imports of capital goods, particularly transport equipment.

“New Zealand business-people are importing productive equipment to expand their capacity to compete in world markets. The Reserve Bank’s projected growth of 4% will not occur without some capital acquisitions, and as the recent employment statistics show, we’re enjoying a job-rich recovery in New Zealand,” Dr Smith said.

“Dr Cullen’s statement is misleading, and ignores the facts in order to promote Labour’s penchant for negativity. It’s time he quit pulling our exporters down, and gave them credit for their sound contribution to New Zealand,” Dr Smith concluded.

ENDS

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