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Luxton Slams Alliance Tariff Policy

The Alliance Party's policy to increase import tariffs would devastate New Zealand's agricultural sector, Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton warned today.

"Raising tariffs by 5% is a completely retrograde step. Everything from farm vehicles to children's clothes will go up in price. Increased farm input costs would put many out of business. It just shows how totally out of touch Jim Anderton really is."

"Our food and fibre industries are New Zealand's economic engine. Together they contribute over 75% of our export receipts. A low cost environment is essential for New Zealand's export sector to compete internationally."

"Increased tariffs will increase costs for the whole economy without benefiting anyone. It will not create sustainable jobs. Neither will it do anything for low income families, the people the Alliance purports to represent."

Mr Luxton said that in addition to farmers seeking lower tariffs in their export markets, they also require them at home.

"New Zealand has taken the step of phasing tariffs out faster than our APEC partners because we know its in our best interests to do so. Apart from Jim Anderton's complete failure to understand WTO rules, increasing tariffs again won't achieve anything and would be a point lost on our trade partners."

"The best way to address the balance of payments deficit is to encourage exports. Farmers and other exporters have been the biggest beneficiaries of our unilateral tariff reductions as costs have been reduced."

"This is yet another tax hike from the Labour/Alliance bloc. What else is waiting in the wings?" Mr Luxton asked.

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