INDEPENDENT NEWS

$16 million on putting businesses out of business

Published: Wed 15 Sep 1999 02:54 PM
$16 million to be wasted on putting NZ businesses out of business.
Jim Anderton MP Wed Sep 15 1999
The Alliance wants the $16 million the government is planning to spend on a 'Buy Global' campaign to be spent on the 'Buy NZ Made' campaign instead.
Alliance leader Jim Anderton says the campaign is a waste of money aimed at putting New Zealand firms out of business and New Zealand workers out of jobs.
He's complaining to the Auditor General because the campaign appears to breach Cabinet guidelines on government advertising.
The Government endorsed a communications strategy developed by Consultus at APEC.
A glossy 10-page brochure prepared by Consultus to sell the campaign to governments says the strategy is explicitly aimed at persuading the public to accept trade and investment liberalisation. It suggests that messages should be crafted not only rationally but emotionally. It targets audiences that 'offer the greatest potential for persuasion.'
As part of the campaign, a new 'Buy Global' brand is to be introduced, with a logo ready to be launched
Journalists are to be offered cash (described as sponsorship) to promote the programme, children's games are being launched and there is even a campaign to persuade school children.
'This campaign is well outside the rules of permissible government advertising. The use of taxpayers' funds to persuade people about the merits of a highly controversial policy is expressly forbidden in well-established rules.
'New Zealand is already running a $7 billion a year overseas deficit. Once we buy everyone's else's products, do you think they're going to pick up the bill to pay for it all? It is deeply irresponsible to promote increased overseas deficits at a time like this when the balance of payments is blowing out.
'If the government really has a spare $16 million to spend on propaganda like this, it should spend it on a Buy NZ Made campaign, and help a few kiwi firms to provide more jobs,' Jim Anderton said.

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