21 Sep 2012

Parties say changes to Reserve Bank Act needed

11:03 pm on 21 September 2012

Opposition parties say the law needs to be change so the Reserve Bank can try to control the exchange rate, not just the inflation rate.

New Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler has signed a Policy Target Agreement with the Government with only minor changes made to the previous agreement.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Parker says Mr Wheeler cannot properly address the high dollar which he believes is the biggest issue facing the export economy.

Mr Parker told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Friday that, as it stands, the law gives primacy to reducing inflation rather than controlling the exchange rate.

"You've got to change the law and what Bill English said that (the Government) can't bring down the currency if they wanted to is absolute rubbish.

"We've got competitive devaluation abroad in just about all our competitor nations - they're doing that to make their exports more viable."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters agrees, saying other countries are prepared to take actions that for blind ideological reasons New Zealand is not.

"The problem is, that we need to change the act itself. (The Government's) not missing an opportunity - they're resisting the opportunity to act in the interests of ordinary New Zealand men and women who are losing their jobs and manufacturing and exporting."

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the Government's continued failure to act on the high dollar means New Zealanders will pay the price in lost jobs.