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Greens Protectionist Stance Grossly Irresponsible

7 March 2002

Comments by Green MP, Rod Donald that Helen Clark should strike free trade off the agenda when she meets US president George Bush later this month are grossly irresponsible, says Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson.

"As a nation heavily dependant on agricultural exports New Zealand cannot afford to dismiss the enormous economic potential of a free trade agreement with the United States, said Mr Polson. "Access to the world's wealthiest market would provide great potential to expand trade and raise our standard of living.

"NZEIR have stated that the economic benefit of an FTA agreement for New Zealand could be 1% GDP or $1.04 billion, of which dairy is a significant benefactor.

"The US Government's decision to impose a 30% tariff on steel imports is disappointing, but does not spell the end to an FTA. New Zealand faces high trade barriers in overseas markets. The World Trade Organisation provides the best way of dealing with these.

"The Greens claim to be environmental crusaders and upholders of workers rights, so I struggle to comprehend their protectionist polices. Trade liberalisation will not only boost New Zealand's economy, but also improve the quality of life of most of the world's poor and their ability to engage on environmental challenges."


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