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Trade Data Highlights Big Squeeze

28 November 2003
PR 242/2003
Trade Data Highlights Big Squeeze

The 19th consecutive fall in export receipts has highlighted the "big squeeze" on farmers from a high exchange rate and unhelpful government policies, said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Overseas merchandise trade data released today showed that exports fell 6.1 percent in October from the same month last year. Export receipts last rose above the same month the previous year in March 2002.

"New Zealand exporters can do better. But they are not helped by seemingly determined government efforts to hamper exporters every step of the way," said Mr Lambie.

The latest hurdle put in place of exporters is the recent proposed $20 million "security fee" on traders to pay for stricter United States' border controls.

"The government does not drive the New Zealand economy, farmers and other entrepreneurs do. Today's data shows the government needs to back off and let farmers get on with the business of farming," Mr Lambie said.

"In good and bad times we want policy from the government that will deliver on the wish to see New Zealand's economy perform at its best. But the reality is that in the current world market environment, farmers are facing a cost-price squeeze exacerbated by our government's actions."

Government intervention includes 18 new taxes, higher 'invisible' taxes such as fuel excise, and rising local government rates.

"We need a coherent set of policies designed to enhance the long term growth potential of this country. We need policies that do not undermine our competitiveness and we certainly do not need government regulation based around the government's view of what the market wants," Mr Lambie said.


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