Luxton arrogant, cruel over job losses
John Luxton's response to the announcement yesterday that up to 300 clothing workers will lose their jobs is arrogant and cruel, says Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.
Reacting to clothing company Bendon's decision to pull out of New Zealand, Luxton said the closures were unfortunate but most New Zealanders enjoyed cheaper goods as a result of tariff reductions.
"Luxton's comments are particularly cruel and display an arrogance which is distasteful. What's the use of cheaper goods if you can't afford to buy them because there are no jobs," Mr Donald said.
"Bendon's decision to shift its manufacturing to Asia is the latest in a long line of factory closures to small towns. Our provincial centres are littered with empty businesses which have shut their doors because they can't compete with imported goods made in Asian sweatshops. National's free trade policies are kicking the guts out of provincial New Zealand.
"Luxton is blinded by his own rhetoric - where are the new jobs in towns like Te Aroha and even cities such as Hamilton that Luxton claims have been created by free-trade?" he said.
"The truth is that at least 60,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the last decade because of tariff reductions and other free trade policies.
"With our trade deficit now standing at $1.8 billion for the year to August it is time for some common sense on trade policy.
"New tariffs and a lower exchange rate are needed to encourage new jobs to be created through import substitution," Mr Donald said.
The Bendon decision to shift manufacturing to Asia means factories in Te Aroha, Te Rapa and East Tamaki are to close with around 300 jobs losses, mostly women workers.