Opposition calls for exchange rate control
Friday 21 Sep 2012 5:18 a.m.
The Government's new policy targets agreement (PTA) with the incoming governor of the Reserve Bank won't deal with the biggest problem facing the export economy, Labour says.
Finance Minister Bill English and the bank's new governor, Graeme Wheeler, signed the PTA on Thursday.
It continues to require the bank to keep inflation between 1 and 3 percent, and Mr English says there are no major changes in it.
But Labour's finance spokesman, David Parker, says the exchange rate is more important than inflation and the bank can't deal with it unless the Government changes the Reserve Bank Act.
"The high dollar is costing Kiwis jobs and unless changes are made our dollar will remain over-valued," he said.
"Giving primacy to inflation is last century's fight, it's time to move on."
Mr Parker says other countries are actively lowering their currencies so they can increase exports.
"They are playing hardball but National still plays by the old rules," he said.
"New Zealand business can succeed in the world but the high dollar means they're fighting with one hand tied behind their back."
Labour, NZ First and the Greens want the bank to be given new powers to control the exchange rate, which the government has so far rejected.
The dollar rose to nearly 83 US cents on Thursday after latest statistics showed the economy grew more quickly than economists had predicted in the second quarter, but fell back in later trade.