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Shipley's rank opportunism exposed

Labour
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"The Prime Minister's claim that an Auckland company is poised to take on the 98 people who will lose their jobs when Bendon closes its Te Aroha factory this month was exaggerated and self-serving," Labour leader Helen Clark said today.

"The closure, which is due to take effect on the day before polling day, could not be worse-timed for Mrs Shipley and her Government. But that is no excuse for playing with the hopes of the workers as they head into Christmas and summer facing the prospect of unemployment," Helen Clark said.

Mrs Shipley claimed in the leaders' debate on TVNZ last night that a West Auckland manufacturer, International Lingerie, was going to take over the Bendon plant in Te Aroha and employ the Bendon machinists.

"But the head of the company, Ted Sweeney, told Kim Hill this morning that without some form of development finance he was not sure the firm could afford to move to Te Aroha and - even if it did - doubted it would be able to take on more than about ten machinists.

"Mrs Shipley's opportunism is made even starker in that while she grandstands on television about jobs that don't exist, her Government is at the same time refusing to provide the kind of backup assistance to exporters like Bendon Ltd that would have helped the company to prosper in New Zealand.

"Mrs Shipley's ideology prevents her from taking a broader view and confines her instead to harping on about reducing the corporate tax rate.

"Yet the cry from small business is for practical measures from government.

"Mr Sweeney of International Lingerie, when asked by Kim Hill to choose between a tax cut and export incentives chose the latter, saying : "I think the manufacturers need encouragement to export and that will assist in the general economy, balance of payments and so on….So I think that export would probably be the best way to go."

"To expect a sensible economic policy from National is asking too much. But surely we should be able to expect Mrs Shipley to stop making it up as she goes along," Helen Clark said.

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