§ 12. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he will make representations to Australia and New Zealand that their currencies, depreciated by 25 per cent. in relation to sterling, constitute unfair competition with the home producers of agricultural products?
15. Mr. LINDSAY
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if his attention has been called to the adverse effect upon British exports to New Zealand of the increased rate of exchange recently imposed by the Government of that Dominion; and what action he proposes to take in this matter?
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
The question of the exchange rates in Australia and New Zealand is not one in which representations could appropriately be made by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Are we to understand that under the Ottawa Agreement the home agricultural producers were to have the first call on the home market? Therefore, is it not true that this deliberate depreciation of currency is a breach of that understanding?
I do not think it is a deliberate act. In regard to home agriculture, I hope that it will still have the first call on the home market.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
Was not this depreciation of exchange taken against the 2352 advice of the Government, and is not the effect of it to wipe out all the advantage of the preference given to British goods?
New Zealand is a Dominion, and it is not for me to ascertain the means by which the Government arrived at their decision, or whether what has been done has been according to the view of the Government or not.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this currency difficulty will make his proposed visit to Australia cheaper or dearer?