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Alliance Backs Anderton In Forest Industry

Alliance Backs Anderton In Forest Industry

Robert Reid Alliance Spokesperson on Trade

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton today received backing from an unlikely source in his continuing row with the Timber Industry Federation. The Alliance Party, that Anderton once led and then left acrimoniously, has come to his defence.

"Jim Anderton can be criticised for being many things, but being anti-business is not one of them," said Robert Reid, Alliance spokesperson on Economic Development and Trade.

"The attacks on Anderton by Wayne Coffey, Executive Director of the Timber Industry Federation are illogical and ill conceived," said Robert Reid. "Coffey does not represent the views of the majority of his industry and is just trying to cover his own failures in being unable and unwilling to develop a cohesive industry development plan for the industry.

"From the first day that Anderton (as then Alliance leader) became Minister of Economic Development he has worked tirelessly to try and seek solutions to a dysfunctional forest industry sector. However his work has been continually undermined by Coffey and his free trade bedfellows," said Robert Reid.

"This is in stark contrast to the Textile Clothing and Footwear Industry, where I have first hand knowledge," Robert Reid said. "Here Anderton, in cooperation with that industry and its unions, has ensured the formation and funding for an industry development organisation to led the process of industry transformation.

"We may criticise Anderton for reneging on Alliance's tariff freeze policy, but we cannot criticise his passionate advocacy for the forestry, textile and other manufacturing and processing industries in New Zealand," said Robert Reid.

"However the continuing undermining of government economic development policy by so-called industry leaders such as Wayne Coffey show these people will never be satisfied. They will not be happy until there are zero taxes for themselves and zero wages for workers in the industry.

"The forest industry has a proud history of successfully creating jobs, providing government revenue and helping eliminate poverty in many regions of the country. However this was done when much of it was Government owned.

"The Labour Government's corporatisation and privatisation programmes of 1984-90 marked the end of these successes of the industry. Its privatisation has been no less disastrous than the privatisation of Air New Zealand and the Railways. It is not further doses of the discredited neo-liberal policies of Coffey and his Business Round Table puppeteer that the industry needs but a good dose of re-nationalisation and socialism," concluded Robert Reid.

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