Finance Minister Grant Robertson should explain why New Zealand needs to change its monetary policy objectives when under the current settings he inherited one of the best performing economies and employment rates in the developed world, says National Party Finance Spokesperson Amy Adams.
“When our Finance Minister justifies change on the basis that this is what happens in other parts of the world, and yet we have performed better economically than many over the last few years, then questions must be asked,” Ms Adams says.
“He should be looking more at the policies he can directly control. Labour’s policies in a whole range of areas like employment relations, investment, immigration and tax will only take job creation and prosperity in New Zealand backwards.
“In fact, the new Policy Targets Agreement signed by Mr Robertson today specifically removes reference to economic growth which puts him at odds with a number of the other countries he says he is seeking to emulate.
“In relation to the maximum employment criteria in the PTA, New Zealand already has the third highest rate of employment in the OECD.
“On one level this change means nothing as the Reserve Bank has always been required to consider growth, incomes, and standard of living - and therefore employment.
“However monetary policy can’t deliver strong employment on its own. It must be applied in parallel with government microeconomic policies that boost employment, as has occurred in the last few years.
“We’ll be watching closely to ensure Grant Robertson doesn’t point the finger at the Central Bank should job creation and employment slow.
“With regards to committee decision making, National is on record as supporting formalizing the current committee structure operated by the Bank.
“However we have reservations that the move to make a significant proportion of the committee ministerial appointed external members, and enabling a senior Government official to be part of all decision making meetings (albeit not voting), creates a real risk of unwarranted political influence over Monetary Policy settings."