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Don't Let The GE Issue Cloud Your Judgement

16 July 2002

Don't Let The GE Issue Cloud Your Judgement On Election Day

We are in the middle of an election campaign that save for the GE debate is failing to fire the imagination of most New Zealanders, Federated Farmer's outgoing President Alistair Polson told the Federation's National Conference in Christchurch today.

"As important as the biotechnology debate is it has proved to be a frustrating diversion from a host of more important issues for New Zealand, said Mr Polson. "There is a pervading atmosphere of complacency, or is it arrogance amongst New Zealanders that allows significant numbers to believe they we can walk a different path from the rest of the world.

"Many New Zealanders seem to have concluded that we don't need comparative tax rates, we don't need to consider innovation in biotechnology, and that we can impose our labour and environmental standards on our potential partners before agreeing to trade with them.

"In this election campaign where are the questions on issues important to our growth as a trading nation. Who is asking about the adequacy of resourcing our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to allow them to negotiate the best outcomes in the Doha trade round? What progress is being made on bilateral arrangements like a Free Trade Agreement with the USA? What commentary is there on the devastating consequences for investment in New Zealand if Australia were to secure a Free Trade Agreement and New Zealand left out? This is where the focus should be not on who signed what painting or on the latest green conspiracy theory.

Mr Polson urged delegates to listen carefully to the agricultural spokespeople representing the major parties on the second day of the conference.

"Remember that you will get the policies of the party you vote for and more. Don't let the GE issue cloud your judgement. Vote for a party that supports the freeing up of international trade, that respects farmer's property rights and that embraces an economic framework that allows for innovation, adoption of new technology and growth."

ENDS


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