National’s head in the sand attitude to the exchange rate is an insult to the hundreds of Kiwis who have lost their jobs because businesses are struggling under the high dollar, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.
“The high dollar is costing Kiwis jobs as businesses are forced to lay off staff but National says nothing can be done. Their close-minded thinking insults the people of Kawerau, Bluff and Greymouth still reeling from major job losses.
“As long as the dollar stays at its artificial high, jobs cuts will continue. Action must be taken.
“Other countries are actively lowering their currencies to help their exporters compete, which pushes our dollar even higher. We are getting hammered but National won’t give Kiwi companies the tools to compete. They don’t realise the rules of the game have changed.
“Around the world it’s recognised that inflation is no longer the main problem, it’s the exchange rate. JB Were called National’s purist inflation policy ‘a rarity in the global economy’ – that’s because other countries are more focussed on exchange rates.
“National says any attempt to remove the primacy given to inflation over exchange rates and jobs is a ‘snake-oil solution’. They are calling economists from the IMF, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and exporters throughout our nation ‘snake-oil salesmen’. Just another gratuitous insult instead of reasoned debate. New Zealanders deserve better.
“National is fighting last century’s battles but the world has moved on. Labour believes New Zealand’s businesses and workers have the talent and ability to really succeed in this world but National ensures we compete with one hand tied behind our back.
“The dollar is hurting New Zealand businesses and families. If businesses can’t sell their products because they’re priced out of the market, they can’t hire more people or pay higher wages. The benefits of a more competitive currency are clear. Our businesses will be able to sell more overseas. That means they earn more money and can create more jobs and pay higher wages. That way we all win.
“Broadening the Reserve Bank’s remit so it can take the exchange rate into account is an essential first step to easing the dollar and growing jobs and wages.”