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Dollarisation Damnned

Press Release
Trade Union Federation

"Dollarisation of the New Zealand currency, whether in terms of the Australian or United States dollars, would signal the end of democratic control over the national economy", Trade Union Federation Secretary, Michael Gilchrist said today.

He was responding to statements by ACT leader Richard Prebble advocating that New Zealand adopt the United States dollar as its currency.

"Without a Reserve Bank in New Zealand which can co-ordinate monetary policy with other policy goals, particularly in the areas of fiscal policy, economic development and social policy, the Government may as well pack up and go home. Ultimately it would affect every area of policy.

"It's true that years of high exchange rate/inflation obsessed activity by the Reserve Bank have served our economy very poorly. We support reform of the Reserve Bank and the replacement of the 1989 Act with one that sets a range of goals promoting New Zealand's overall economic well-being and which uses a broader range of monetary policy instruments (rather than just interest rates) to achieve those goals. That is the cure for some of the difficulties we have encountered with our currency.

"Dollarisation, on the other hand, would simply represent the logical end point of the destructive monetary policies of the past. The new right could go ahead and hang a sign up on New Zealand anouncing that the operation had been a success and the patient was finally dead.

"New Zealand would be completely transformed into a profit centre for transnational corporations, with little to call its own but sports teams and brand names," Mr Gilchrist said.

"We are confident that New Zealanders will never allow this to happen. That's why we welcome any debate on the topic of economic sovereignty. Essentially it is a question of whether communities can have any democratic control over their material circumstances.

"This is the same debate as is occurring over APEC, the WTO and the US led model of globalisation. It is undoubtedly the most important political issue we face in the new millenium," Mr Gilchrist concluded.

Further information: Michael Gilchrist 04 384 8963 or 04 237 7566


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