25 Nov 2020

Reserve Bank could do more on housing prices - Grant Robertson

From Morning Report, 7:09 am on 25 November 2020

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Reserve Bank should be looking at what it can do to ease the superheated housing market, just as the Government is looking at what it can do.

Robertson wrote to the Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr on Tuesday asking it to consider house prices when setting monetary policy.

That letter got a tepid response from the Reserve Bank, which replied within the day to say it already does take house prices into consideration.

Robertson told Morning Report on Wednesday he thinks the Reserve Bank has done plenty, but everyone needs to be wracking their brains for a fix to the situation, which has seen a median price rise across the country of 11.1 percent in the year to September.

"I give credit to the Reserve Bank for the work that they've done," Robertson said.

"We've just all going to take a moment now to look at that escalation in house prices and see what we can all do to get a period of sustained moderation."

He said he wasn't concerned about how the move would affect the Reserve Bank's independence as it was at the end of the day only an ask.

"A final decision about what they do, still remains theirs under our independent monetary policy."

Robertson said the government is also looking into what they could do after ruling out options like a capital gains or wealth tax.

"There's plenty of policy space outside of the things that we've ruled out in terms of what we can do to support more affordable housing."