Coalition Makes Gains for New Zealand Exporters, Farmers and Foresters

  • Dr Lockwood Smith
Agriculture

The Coalition government has delivered real gains for New Zealand's key export sectors in its first year of operation, Agriculture, Forestry and International Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said today.

"As a trading nation it is crucial that we do our utmost to reduce barriers to trade, particularly for our agricultural and forestry sectors which generate the lion's share of our export earnings.

"And the Coalition has been able to report excellent progress in the past 12 months," Dr Smith said, noting a number of examples:

  • APEC has agreed to speed up the removal of trade barriers affecting forestry and fishing, a real coup for New Zealand. Manufacturers and our energy and telecommunications sectors will also gain from the agreed liberalisation package.
  • Bilateral trade deals this year will improve access for our wool, meat, dairy, apple and kiwifruit exports to important markets such China, Taiwan and India.
  • A World Trade Organisation agreement involving New Zealand will provide our information technology exporters with tariff free access to WTO markets.

Another WTO deal will substantially liberalise trade for our telecommunications sector.

The minister also pointed out other ways in which the agriculture and forestry sectors were benefiting from government initiatives.

  • The Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry are being merged and this will lead to greater efficiency and cost savings.
  • Farmers will also benefit as competition is introduced into meat inspection.
  • New legislation means farmers will get better value from the levies they pay to producer boards.

Dr Smith said there had been other gains in the move towards ending unsustainable harvesting of native timber.

  • Exports of unsustainably harvested native timber will be banned from 2000.
  • Good progress is being made towards ending clear-felling of native forests on Maori-owned land in the South Island "This government will be building on these successes," Dr Smith said.

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We are committed to getting the business environment right so that business can get on with delivering the economic gains that will improve living standards for all New Zealanders."