12 Sep 2012

Govt accused of being stuck in past over inflation

6:40 am on 12 September 2012

Labour accuses the Government of being stuck in the past by refusing to consider any moves aimed at bringing the value of the dollar down.

Finance spokesperson David Parker says a growing number of economists favour countries taking a more flexible approach to inflation and their exchange rates.

Finance Minister Bill English concedes the high exchange rate has made life tough for exporters. But the Government rules out manipulating the exchange rate.

Mr Parker said the obsession with inflation has helped lift interest rates and property prices higher than they otherwise would have been, yet these are not measured by the consumer price index.

He said New Zealand needs to reconsider its stance on monetary policy because so many other countries are now intervening to make their currencies more competitive.

Mr Parker also said getting the Reserve Bank to take account of the exchange rate, as well as other factors, won't mean inflation blows out.

Mr Parker recently returned from Europe and the United States where he spoke to a range of economists, including International Monetary Fund research director Olivier Blanchard and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.