Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


PQ 1. Inflation—Government Measures to Address

[Sitting date: 24 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:1. Text is subject to correction.]
1. Hon PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei) to the Minister of Finance : What measures is the Government taking to help control inflation for New Zealand families?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Among a number of sensible economic measures, the Government has maintained practical and predictable monetary policy in the hands of an independent Reserve Bank. This assists to control the cost of living. Among the policies, the Government is working hard to get back to surplus this year, and to ensure existing spending is focused on programmes that make a real difference to New Zealanders rather than going on a large spend-up, which puts pressure on interest rates and the cost of living. We are supporting businesses to invest and create jobs, and incomes are rising faster than inflation. Consumer prices rose by 1.6 percent in the year to 30 June and food prices were up by 1.2 percent for the year. That compares with overall inflation of 5.1 percent in 2008, when annual food prices jumped by 11 percent rather than by 1.2 percent.
Hon Phil Heatley : How did consumer price inflation for the last June year compare with market expectations and what were the main components of that annual result?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : The quarterly Consumers Price Index increase of 0.3 percent and the annual rise of 1.6 percent were slightly below market expectations. Annual inflation remains in the lower half of the Reserve Bank’s 1 to 3 percent target zone, which is good news for households and businesses. In the June year the strong exchange rate was reflected in lower prices for audiovisual and computing equipment, lower vehicle prices, and a fall in prices for telecommunications services. These falls were offset by slightly higher prices for housing and household utility prices and increased costs for cigarettes and tobacco after an excise duty increase in January.
Hon David Parker : Is he aware that Consumers Price Index inflation does not incorporate interest rate increases, therefore hiding the significant increases to mortgage rates that have occurred over the past year because of his Government’s failure in Auckland housing policy?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : I do not think any interest rates increases have been hidden. People have been getting notifications in the mail for the last 3 or 4 months about their interest rates going up. I would point out to the member that at 3.5 percent the official cash rate is less than half what it was when his Government left office in 2008, when it reached a record 8.25 percent. The interest rate that he is claiming is too high is 3.5 percent; when he was in charge it reached 8.25 percent.
Hon Phil Heatley : What recent reports has he received on likely future trends in the cost of living?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : In its review of the official cash rate this morning the Reserve Bank said that overall “Inflation r emains moderate, but strong growth in output has been absorbing spare capacity.” Its independent decision to raise the official cash rate to 3.5 percent is expected to keep future average inflation near the 2 percent target and ensure that the economic expansion can be sustained. I am sure the House understands just how significant the Reserve Bank’s statements are. With the official cash rate at 3.5 percent the Reserve Bank is indicating that we can sustain growth around 3 percent. That is in sharp contrast to the interest rate structure under the previous Labour Government, when the official cash rate never fell below 4.75 percent in 9 years. When Labour left office it was at 8.25 percent, inflation was above 5 percent, floating mortgage interest rates were almost 11 percent, and house prices had doubled in the previous 7 years. It looks like we will be able to avoid all of those mistakes this time round.
Rt Hon Winston Peters : If the Minister compares interest rates with the USA, China, Japan, the UK, and nearly all of Europe, is it not a fact that, comparatively, we are paying the highest interest rates in 50 years?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : New Zealand is paying the lowest interest rates it has had in 50 years, or just slightly above. Of course, if the member wants long-term recession and enormous Government debt like they have in the UK and Europe, then of course we would have zero to 1 percent interest rates. But, actually, this Government chooses more jobs, more investment, and more growth, and that is why we have higher interest rates than they do.
Hon Phil Heatley : What reports has he seen on alternative approaches to monetary policy and economic management, and what impact would they have on the cost of living for New Zealand families?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : We have just seen one alternative approach from the leader of New Zealand First, who is suggesting that we have large deficits, enormous Government debt, and low growth rates, and that, therefore, we would have low interest rates.
Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That is out of order. He cannot say that and speak for another party, particularly one that knows what it is doing.
Mr SPEAKER : The Rt Hon Winston Peters raises a reasonable point. It is inappropriate for any member to ask a question that is simply a means of attacking another party. Does the Minister want to add further to the answer?
Hon BILL ENGLISH : Of course I do.
Mr SPEAKER : Well, the Minister can, but it had better not be an attack on another political party.
Hon BILL ENGLISH : I have seen reports from parties that are so worried about the cost of living that they are going to put a $25 carbon tax on, which, of course, will raise the cost of living, not lower it.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news