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Balance of Payments Out of Control — Peters

New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, said today that he is horrified by the Balance of Payments blow-out announced by Statistics New Zealand, and is requesting that urgent action be taken.

“No market analyst or economist predicted that the Balance of Payments deficit would be so far over 6% of GDP. This figure is from left field and represents a worst-case scenario for both our exporters and our economy—not even the most pessimistic forecaster was predicting this.

“The Balance of Payments figure is easy to dismiss as nothing but a statistic, but it is symptomatic of the fact that we are running an economy for the sake of importers, paper shufflers and foreign speculators. Until we start running our economy for exporting, we will continue our slide into the third world.

“Contrary to what Bill English may say, this result is certainly not ‘in line with market expectations’ (whatever that means). What market is he talking about? Obviously he is not talking to the people of Southland or the people of Taranaki, where I have been for the last few days—those people are hurting because of a total lack of government support for exporters.

“Mr English can no longer hide behind the Asian crisis either—our major trading partners are far along the road to recovery. Our export dependent rural areas in particular are having the life-blood taken out of them.

“New Zealand’s Balance of Payments slide is nothing new either, it has been sliding now for some time, and that is just as worrying. When I was Treasurer I worked hard to lower exchange rate pressure and lower interest rates. This lead to a partial correction, but what is now needed is new ideas.

“What we need to do now is to change the fundamentals of the economy, and recreate an exporting nation. That means increasing our national savings rates and creating an exporting climate. That is why NZIER this week recommended, belatedly, that we introduce savings schemes.

“Why does Australia have 75 export support schemes and we have none?,” concluded Mr Peters.

ENDS

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