20 Apr 2012

Treasury head joins global meeting on bailouts

8:30 am on 20 April 2012

The Government has sent the head of the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, to an international meeting in the United States to discuss a massive new bailout fund which it is hoped will help stave off another global financial crisis.

The Government says it is considering contributing to the International Monetary Fund's request for $400 billion of new loans.

New Zealand pledged $1.3 billion when the IMF raised half a trillion dollars in loans from its 187 members in 2010.

Nearly $100 million of New Zealand's contribution has already been used in the bailouts of Portugal and Greece.

Renewed concerns about Spain and Italy have spurred the IMF to seek new funds, although its biggest shareholder, the United States, says it won't contribute.

Labour Party finance spokesperson David Parker says he wants more detail from the Government on any new commitments, which must have been decided in principle before Mr Makhlouf left.

"I can't believe that they'd be so inept as to have not thought this through," Mr Parker says. "So if they've thought it through, why can't they tell New Zealand the pricniples that they're going to apply - and one of the things that would be top of my list is whether New Zealand can afford it."