No accountability for record inflation

The National Party is appalled by Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s decision to re-appoint Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr without first completing an independent review of the Bank’s performance, says National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis.

“We have repeatedly urged the Government to conduct an independent review of the Reserve Bank’s performance before endorsing the Governor for another five years. Re-appointing him without first completing such an inquiry is a serious mistake.

“In recent years, Adrian Orr as the Chair of the Monetary Policy Committee signed off on an extraordinary programme of money printing and cheap lending that pumped tens of billions of dollars into the economy. That programme directly contributed to house prices rising 28 per cent in one year, inflation rising to a 32-year high, and record bank profits.

“New Zealanders now suffering through a cost of living crisis are owed some answers. Was a more careful monetary policy approach warranted? Has the Bank fulfilled its mandate? Did Orr get it wrong?

“The Government’s refusal to even ask these questions shows contempt for the New Zealand public. It’s not enough for the Minister of Finance to lean on the endorsement of the board he helped appoint. He should have kicked-off a thorough external review to satisfy himself and New Zealanders that the Bank did the best it could have. Instead, he has directly shied away from any semblance of accountability. The ‘ask no questions’ approach is unacceptable.

“It’s completely insufficient for the Bank to mark its own homework with an internal review verified by its own hand-picked favourites.

“New Zealanders suffering through a cost of living crisis deserve more than a cosy re-appointment process with no accountability.

“National would immediately initiate an independent inquiry into monetary policy decision making over the past two years, including its contribution to the cost of living crisis, unsustainable house price rises, co-ordination with fiscal policy, losses on bond purchases and its contribution to bank profits.”