15 Nov 2009

Plant closure prompts call to stabilise dollar

11:09 am on 15 November 2009

The planned closure of a saw blade plant north of Auckland has prompted calls for new moves by the Reserve Bank to lower and stabilise the value of the New Zealand dollar.

Irwin Industrial Tools has cited a volatile currency as one of the reasons behind its decision to lay off its remaining 56 staff at the Wellsford plant.

The New Zealand dollar remains near historic highs, hurting exporters such as Irwin which had sold almost everything it produced overseas.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little says exporters need a more stable dollar and the Government should examine countries such as Singapore, which fixes its dollar against a range of currencies.

Ganesh Nana, chief economist at researcher BERL, says he would prefer to see the Reserve Bank more active in the currency market, trading to lower the New Zealand dollar's value.

Dr Nana says the need to fuel an export-led economic recovery should end the Reserve Bank's reluctance to intervene.