1 Jun 2012

Fresh calls for inquiry into handling of deposit guarantee

8:02 am on 1 June 2012

Opposition parties have renewed calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Treasury's handling of the Crown retail deposit guarantee.

Another report has criticised Treasury for not doing more to minimise the cost to the taxpayer of the collapse of finance companies covered by the scheme .

The Crown paid almost $2 billion arising from the failure of nine companies, most notably South Canterbury Finance.

An Auditor General's report last year also found Treasury failed to monitor the scheme properly.

Labour says earlier attempts to hold an Parliamentary inquiry, or question Treasury further, have been blocked by the Government.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Treasury did nothing for the first five months, allowing finance companies to go on a spending spree at the taxpayer's expense and there should be a proper investigation.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says Treasury has been found to have been incompetent.

Finance and Expenditure Select Committee chair Todd McClay (National) says members have already quizzed Treasury extensively on the issue.

He says Treasury has accepted the committee's criticism of its handling of the Crown Guarantee and concedes that, with hindsight, it may have acted differently.

The Crown retail deposit guarantee was introduced by the then-Labour Government just before the 2008 general election, to reassure New Zealand investors that the banking system was sound.

At its peak, it protected about $133 billion deposited in 72 companies.