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Acting PM put on short leash

It is good for New Zealand that monetary policy has stayed in the hands of the Reserve Bank, at least for the time-being,” Opposition Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

“The Government has had to muzzle its own Acting Prime Minister.

“That is clear from the extraordinary one-paragraph statement issued today. Trevor Mallard has been hauled in as Acting Finance Minister to remind reporters – and Jim Anderton – that the Government would have no comment to make on the Reserve Bank’s cash rate decision.

“It’s going to take more than a statement from a junior minister to paper over the cracks appearing in the Government’s economic policy as Mr Anderton tries to build support for the Alliance.

“He has watched support for the Alliance drop to record lows because his supporters expected him to do something when he got into Government and he’s done nothing.

“Clearly the deals the Government had done with Jim Anderton, such as freezing tariffs, aren’t going to be enough for the Alliance.

“We can expect to see more of Jim Anderton trying to flex his muscles on economic policy to try to ensure the Alliance isn’t smothered by Labour.”

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