19 Jun 2013

Greens abandon idea of printing money

6:23 pm on 19 June 2013

The Green Party has abandoned its idea to print money to help bring down the value of the strong New Zealand dollar.

The idea has been consistently criticised by Prime Minister John Key as wacky, and it did not gain support from other Opposition parties Labour and New Zealand First.

Russel Norman.

Russel Norman. Photo: RNZ

In October last year, the Greens announced that they wanted the Reserve Bank to consider printing an extra $2 billion.

Mr Key said on Wednesday the decision to abandon the idea just shows the Green Party has no credibility on economic policy and he expects they will come up with another wacky idea.

Co-leader Russel Norman said that wasn't what prompted the Greens to drop it. He said the party does not have the support of other parties that could form a centre-left government after the election in 2014.

Dr Norman said the Greens would continue to push for changes to monetary policy. He said the Reserve Bank board - not its governor - should decide whether interest rates need to change or not and the minutes of its meetings should be made public.

While the Greens no longer want to print money, John Key says that they and Labour are hellbent on taking New Zealand to the far-left. Mr Key says in contrast, National is pursuing orthodox economic policies and they are working.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Parker welcomed the Green Party's announcement, saying his party never agreed with the policy.

Mr Parker said now that the Greens have dropped the idea, Mr Key will no longer be able to accuse Labour of supporting printing money and that should open the way for a sensible debate on making changes to monetary policy to help take the pressure off the dollar.

"Everyone from the Reserve Bank to the IMF to the OECD tends to agree that our currency's over-valued, and yet no one's willing to do anything about it and change some of the monetary policy and tax settings which contribute to that.

"Perhaps this announcement by the Greens that they've abandoned quantitative easing, which the Labour Party's always opposed, will allow us to have that other debate which is a very important one."