10 Mar 2011

Reserve Bank, Government met ahead of rate cut

8:00 pm on 10 March 2011

The Labour Party says it supports an unusual move by the Reserve Bank to speak to the Government before deciding to cut interest rates on Thursday.

However, Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe has again criticised Prime Minister John Key appearing to pressure the central bank to cut rates.

After cutting the Official Cash Rate, which helps determine lending rates set by commercial banks from 3% to 2.5%, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said he had changed the procedure in response to the Christchurch earthquake.

In an unusual move, he met Finance Minister Bill English a week ago.

Dr Bollard says he simply wanted to ensure there was some co-ordination on the response to the economic impact of the devastating quake on 22 February quake.

David Cunliffe says he is comfortable with what took place, but criticised Mr Key for calling for interest rate cuts before the bank made its decision.

Dr Bollard says the consultation with the Government is unprecedented in his time in the job.

He agrees the bank has been closer to the Government on the latest decision than it would have been in the past, but says the circumstances call for it because of the state of emergency.

Mr English says his discussion with Dr Bollard was about the Government's plans for dealing with the impact of the quake.