Have your say: Banks have guarantee so should not fire workers in NZ, Finsec & Anderton argue
6th May 09, 8:24am
Progressive's leader Jim Anderton is backing a petition from banker's union Finsec to keep banking jobs in New Zealand because banks are being guaranteed by the government. Anderton claimed that banks in New Zealand had been "making enormous profits by mistreating customers and exploiting staff." Anderton was annoyed that despite being some of the most profitable banks in the world, the overseas owned banks in New Zealand were still firing staff. He urged the banks to "give something back", and "support New Zealand as good corporate citizens." "The taxpayer is giving the banks a crucial government guarantee," he said. "The government is right to do so. The banks need the guarantee to keep functioning. In a crisis, New Zealanders should be prepared to help each other out. And we should be prepared to use the power of government to make our economy stronger." "But there is a quid pro quo. It is perfectly reasonable to ask that in exchange for getting support from New Zealanders, the banks should, in return, support New Zealand in general and their own staff in particular," he said. Under the wholesale guarantee agreement, banks have to pay a fee if they use the guarantee to raise funds through wholesale bond issues. Finance Minister Bill English responded at a news conference yesterday, saying he thought the proposal was a bit "heavy-handed." "I think making it a condition of the guarantee is a bit heavy-handed because removing a guarantee from one of our major banks could have quite significant economic effects on thousands of jobs and I don't think even Finsec would want that," English said. What do you think? Banks already pay a fee if they use the guarantee to raise funds. Should they be made to stop job cuts? What would happen if this was made part of the guarantee deal? __________ * This article was first published yesterday in our daily email subscription newsletter for the banking and finance industries. The email costs NZ$365 per annum and carries exclusive news and analysis for New Zealand banking and finance industry executives, regulators and investors. Sign up for a free trial here.