Bill English urges world to support small economies

  • 11/10/2015
Bill English (File)
Bill English (File)

Finance Minister Bill English has urged the world's financial leaders to support small island states.

Mr English is in Lima for the annual meeting of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is attended by a who's who of financial leaders.

He's told the IMF it needs to keep reforming and help small and vulnerable members because "the benefits from getting it right can be significant".

"We call upon the IMF and World Bank Group to continue to invest in small Pacific Island countries in support of their economic future," Mr English says in a statement to the meeting.

He says the international financial institutions can do this by assigning quality staff to work with these countries, by providing relevant and practical analysis and advice, and by delivering technical assistance that's fit for their circumstances.

He says the IMF must better reflect its membership to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

"We remain deeply disappointed that the 2010 IMF quota and governance reforms are yet to be ratified. We urge all members yet to do so to ratify these reforms."

He told the forum economic growth in New Zealand has been moderating in 2015 from robust rates of over 3 percent per annum, due to lower dairy prices and as rebuild activity in Christchurch appears to have peaked.

"As a small open economy our own experience has taught us the value of sound macroeconomic fundamentals and a flexible economy, including allowing the flexible exchange rate to act as a buffer."

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has reduced interest rates and the exchange rate has fallen, supporting the economy, he says.

The government remains focused on rebuilding fiscal buffers, with net government debt peaking at about 26 percent of GDP around now, he says.