How much power is Robertson trying to grab now?

The Finance Minister needs to give New Zealanders peace of mind that the new powers he’s proposing to give himself over bank lending won’t over-reach into retail banking, National’s Finance spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.

“The Finance Minister needs to reveal the full details of what he’s planning, rather than casually mentioning it in passing at the bottom of a press release.

“We need to know how these new levers of power might be constrained, given how significant that could be.

“Grant Robertson might have an interest in restricting lending to property investors right now, but what if he turns his attention towards farmers or other groups the Government has an issue with?

“It would be concerning if this policy allowed the Minister to directly influence the lending decisions of retail banks and introduce more risk to their operations by preventing them from making independent lending assessments.

“I encourage the Minister of Finance to release the Cabinet Paper on setting lending restrictions and reassure the country that he will not be giving himself the power to intervene in commercial banking.

“The Finance Minister also needs to realise he cannot blame the Reserve Bank for the housing crisis. To fix that, his Government needs to get on with fixing our planning rules and incentivising councils to get houses built.”