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Free Trade fuels current account crisis

21 December 1999

Today's announcement that the current account deficit has taken a massive leap to over $6.6B for the year to September reinforces the need to tackle the myths of free trade says the Green Party.

Statistics New Zealand has announced a September quarter deficit of $2.646 taking the annual deficit to $6.61B. The deficit for year ended September 1998 was $5.043B.

"It's no coincidence that our balance of payments deficit gets worse the more we lock ourselves into free trade," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"New Zealand's trade deficit now accounts for over one third of our balance of payments deficit.

"Not only was the September year trade deficit the fifth in a row, at $2.25B (exports fob minus imports cif), it exceeded the previous four deficits combined.

"You wouldn't run your family finances or small business the way the National government ran the country.

"Our challenge to the incoming Labour-Alliance government is to tackle the underlying structural problems facing New Zealand before the rest of the world labels us a basket-case economy.

"Green solutions include active promotion of organic agriculture to boost export earnings through added value to our produce and fostering import substitution to create jobs and to reduce the importation of consumer goods which can readily be made in New Zealand.

"It's vital that the new Government takes the balance of payments crisis seriously and opens its mind to creative solutions instead of repeating National's mistakes," he said.

Contact Rod Donald on 04 470 6660 or 025 507 183

ENDS


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