Govt should accept more private investment, avoid more debt - Reserve Bank Governor

The head of the Reserve Bank says politics is getting in the way of building up New Zealand's infrastructure.

Adrian Orr wants the Government to be more open to public-private partnerships and get over its "hang-up".

"Around the world, this massive capital surplus [is] trying to get into these types of investments, and it's people that get in the way," Mr Orr told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

"We have this hang-up about third-party capital. And so it means that councils, Governments rely on debt and tax rather than equity."

Mr Orr says the Government has a "fear of control" being lost to private entities - for example, when a road ends up getting tolled to help the private company make a profit on its investment - but that needs to be put aside. 

"Politicians are scared to use the word 'toll' - you know, user-pay-type things. The user always pays. It's either directly or very indirectly, through the tax system."

Mr Orr's comments come a couple of weeks after he said that in his time as head of the NZ Super Fund, he found it difficult to put money into the Christchurch rebuild. 

"We never got to spend a single penny in Christchurch," he said in May. "I stopped going down. It became too hard."

Former Christchurch Minister Gerry Brownlee said he was "incensed" and National Party leader Simon Bridges said Mr Orr would have learned a lesson "in terms of sticking to the knitting in terms of what his remit is".

In other words, stick to the economy and leave the politics to politicians.

Mr Orr defended his stance, telling Newshub Nation he was talking economics - not politics.

"We're saying, 'Economically, why aren't you investing? This makes sense.' … Part of my mandate is to contribute to maximising sustainable employment. That means having an efficient economy. It means having investable opportunities."

Mr Brownlee said he was told by officials at the NZ Super Fund the investment opportunities in Christchurch were too small to bother with. 

Mr Orr became Reserve Bank Governor in March, replacing Acting Governor Graeme Wheeler.

Newshub Nation.

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