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Friday, 24 June 1949

Mr CHIFLEY - I shall answer the question, because this matter has been discussed with me by the Minister, and also in Cabinet. New Zealand has always depended on Australia for its requirements of steel, and now needs supplies to enable it to carry out essential works. As a manufacturer and an exporter of steel Australia must conserve and devolop its overseas markets. In the future we may have to battle for trade, and wo cannot neglect New Zealand as a permanent market for our steel. The Government decided that it would be completely justified and indeed, would only be acting fairly, if it permitted New Zealand to have a small proportion of our output. The honorable gentleman mentioned 45,000 tons.

Mr Beale - Mr. Hazzard mentioned from 45,000 to 50,000 tons !

Mr CHIFLEY - Quite so. I believe that the total quantity involved is probably even more, when we include the steel products that are supplied to that country. Very strong representations were made to the Australian Government by the New Zealand Prime Minister and, later, by the Acting Prime Minister, Mr. Nash, both of whom emphasized that New Zealand depends upon Australia for supplies of steel to keep current works in progress and to maintain men in employment. The Government accepts full responsibility for endeavouring to meet that country's requirements to a limited degree.

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