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Monetary Policy Needs Fiscal Friends

In today’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee briefing, the Reserve Bank Governor was questioned by MPs about Government spending and said, “We believe it is putting upward pressure on aggregate demand and hence inflation” in the near-term.

He also emphasised the importance of the Government’s stated plans to dial back spending in future Budgets, saying this would ease the impacts on inflation.

Adrian Orr says that Government spending is the Government’s business and the Reserve Bank is “a recipient of their intentions.”

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “In other words, the ball is in the Government’s court: the more Grant Robertson dials back spending, the less need there will be for prolonged high interest rates in the coming years. To put it another way, monetary policy needs fiscal friends.”

“Grant Robertson can blame inflation on international conditions all he likes – but it doesn’t absolve him from the responsibility to ease domestic pressure on prices.”

“In his rush to allocate $5.9 billion of new operational spending in the Budget, he failed to examine ways to offset this by cancelling low-priority initiatives. He needs to direct Government Ministries to closely examine what unspent money can be clawed back from his COVID response projects.”

“With unemployment extremely low, we’d suggest starting with redundant make-work schemes like Jobs for Nature.”

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