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Government Twists The Truth At Knowledge Wave

The Green Party has accused the Labour-Alliance Government of twisting the truth about the Singapore free trade agreement at the Knowledge Wave Conference in Auckland today.

The official Government publication distributed to all delegates at the Conference hails the Singapore "Closer Economic Partnership" as a success, claiming that exports to Singapore were up 27 per cent in the first quarter since the agreement was signed.

"Despite admitting weeks ago that they used the wrong figures to justify its free trade policies, the Government continues to twist the truth," said Green Party co-Leader Rod Donald.

The facts, according to Statistics NZ, are as follows:

* Exports for the March quarter were DOWN 11 per cent, not up 27 per cent
* Imports for the quarter were up 20 per cent, not 11 per cent as claimed by the Government.

"It gets worse. Exports for the April quarter were down 25 per cent according to Statistics NZ, imports were up 27 per cent and the overall trade deficit was $63 million," Rod Donald said.

"That compares with a $3 million trade surplus last year, before the Singapore CEP was signed. The so called knowledge wave will evaporate if it is based on hot air rather than hard data.

"For knowledge to have value it must be accurate. The Government's decision to misrepresent the facts is dangerous.

"So why does the Government continue to misrepresent the trade figures with Singapore?

"It's because they are so desperate to show their Singapore deal wasn't stupid after all that they continue to use Customs figures, which aren't accrued and include extraneous items, instead of Statistic NZ figures.

"The Government is now rushing headlong into a similar deal with Hong Kong where the expected benefits are equally ideological rather than substantial," said Rod Donald.

Ends


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