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Farmers will be hammered by trade blow

New Zealand farmers won't forget the huge blow they've been dealt with the death of a free trade deal with the United States, says National's Agriculture spokesman, David Carter.

"The rural sector's played a major part in propping up the buoyant economy of the last couple of years, and this is how it is being repaid. The blame for this lies squarely with the Prime Minister.

"The United States is New Zealand's biggest beef market and fourth-largest lamb market. Helen Clark obviously didn't care about the effort that went into developing these markets when she opened her mouth on US domestic politics.

"Jim Sutton's blasé comment of "time to move on" is an irresponsible serve on the rural sector. Farmers are facing tough times ahead and the Government can't afford to be so dismissive of this country's biggest export earners.

"The actions of Helen Clark have damaged decades of hard work and ruined any chances of New Zealand lifting its long-term sustainable growth rate.

"You can't have a trade set-back much more serious than this. The Australians make the A-list for free trade and access to the 290-million-strong American market while New Zealand suffers on the sideline," says David Carter.

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