162 Statement by Muldoon

Wellington, 24 February 1981

Detailed submissions by the various sectors involved in the current studies on a closer economic relationship with Australia were considered by the Cabinet Economic Committee today.1

Objections raised by various industries were considered and it is clear that these cover a wide area. Most are capable of being dealt with by either the working party of officials from both governments or the heads of departments, who will be meeting this week and next week.

It is a question of whether, on balance, we can see substantial advantages accruing to New Zealand. Ministers were agreed that the major issues raised must be dealt with satisfactorily before any progress can be made.

It is clear from our studies so far that serious problems do exist and these must be resolved. It is too early to say, therefore when I will be able to meet the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, again to discuss progress.

[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/4/1 Part 34 Archives New Zealandffe Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]