By Alex Tarrant
Labour has just got Monetary Policy on the front pages. Its finance spokesman Grant Robertson is out there as the politician leading calls for reform on how the Reserve Bank operates.
And that means Winston Peters isn’t happy.
I thought I’d ask the New Zealand First leader what his thoughts were on Labour’s new policy. After all, they might just be government partners after 23 September. Or at least Peters’ support for the changes might be required by Labour if he chooses to sit on the cross benches.
I was wondering whether Labour’s proposals could be compatible with New Zealand First’s long-held stance on the Reserve Bank Act.
But Peters didn’t seem too keen on being the one who was now having to respond to another party calling for changes to the way the Reserve Bank operates:
“You’re asking somebody who’s had a Bill before Parliament on the Reserve Bank Act, and has failed by one vote twice in the last three years? You’re asking him?”
Yep. Is it something he could support?
“When are you guys gonna get off your backsides and report who was there a long, long time ago?”
“You think you’re going to…tell me you’ve got something novel from the Labour Party on the Reserve Bank Act?”
I wasn’t saying it was novel.
“You are years too late.”
“You suck up to the Labour Party if you like. You suck up to the Greens and National if you like, but we’re not going to do that. We were talking about the need to change our monetary, our fiscal and our Reserve Bank policy a long, long time ago. We failed by one vote, twice, in this House in the last three years.”
I accept that. But now Labour is out there again proposing changes not dissimilar to New Zealand First’s policy. I just want to know whether the policies are compatible enough that agreement might be found again after the election to drive change through?
“Who do you work for?”
Interest.co.nz. We focus on monetary policy, and we’ve carried New Zealand First’s policies on our website – quite regularly in fact. (Here's an interest.co.nz video interview with Peters from 2014 where he talks about monetary policy).
“Don’t just hit me with a barrage of stupid questions. With the greatest respect, the next three, four, five months are going to be about the facts that the people of New Zealand need to know, not what you guys in the Press Gallery think.”
But he still wouldn’t let up the chance to have a dig.
“Others have said it's cosmetic. Other economists and people who understand, they’ve said it’s not likely to work. I’ve heard all the comments and I wouldn’t be so nasty as to add to them. Thank you very much.”
And that was that.