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25,000 jobs lost though tariff reduction, axe to f

The Alliance has released figures that show at least 25,000 New Zealanders lost their jobs as a direct result of tariff reductions since 1987. The jobs were lost in the industries the government has been claiming show the benefits of tariff reductions.

Government research released today claims benefits to consumers in reductions in prices of cars, clothes and footwear.

"These price reductions have come with a horrendous human price tag," Alliance leader Jim Anderton said.

"In 1987 58,700 people were employed in making cars, clothes, footwear and associated industries in New Zealand. Now there are only 33,000 people in those industries. Most are likely to lose their jobs as tariffs are abolished in the next few years.

"We have sacrificed our own industries through tariff cuts far in excess of our major trading partners. New Zealand still faces unfair tariff competition from our major trading partners.

 Tariffs on beef range from 10% in the USA to 50% in Japan and 70% in China.
 Tariffs on Apples range from 18% in Japan, 48% in Korea and between 40 to 100% in China.
 Tariffs on Butter and Cheese range from 10% to 20% in the USA, 35% in Japan, and 40 to 95% in Korea.

"There has been no gain for our exporters by removing tariffs on manufactured goods. Jobs in Agriculture have only increased by 1,900 since 1987 whereas jobs in Manufacturing have decreased by 26,500," Jim Anderton said.

"The government's claim that 250,000 jobs have been created as a result of removing tariffs is their final lie. In the last ten years the workforce has increased by 294,000. So 44,000 more people have come into the workforce over the last ten years than have found a job. When this is included their one sided free trade policies do not look so good.

"This analysis does not take into account the effect cheap imported cars have had in reducing the value of the family car. When the government cut tariffs on new cars, the value of cars dropped by thousands of dollars. If your car reduced in value by $5000, this would cost you about $100 a week over a year, which would more than offset any other consumer gains you may have got through tariff reduction.

"This report is nothing more than electioneering designed to legitimise this government's mad rush to destroy jobs thought tariff cuts, Jim Anderton said.

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