17 Sep 2012

Key dismisses suggestions of intervention on dollar

10:43 pm on 17 September 2012

Prime Minister John Key has shrugged off suggestions of intervention to counter the high New Zealand dollar.

The Labour and Green Parties have called for action to bring down the currency saying the alternative is falling exports and job losses.

The kiwi pushed through US83 cents on Friday after the US Federal Reserve announced further moves to bolster the American economy.

Mr Key told TVNZ's Q + A programme on Sunday that driving up debt is not a permanent solution to the country's woes.

"The answer for New Zealand is not necessarily coming up with a make-work scheme funded off taxpayers," he said.

Mr Key said what was needed was New Zealand having competitive industry and ensuring it had a flexible labour market and was investing in things that made the economy grow faster.

He said the Government was focussing on fundamentals to rejuvenate the economy.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Parker says the devaluation of the US dollar will make New Zealand's exporters less competitive.

He says a growing number of countries are using different mechanisms to ease their own exchange rates and the Reserve Bank Act should be changed so this country can do the same thing.

Mr Parker says inflation should not be the only lever used by the Reserve Bank to control the currency.

The Council of Trade Unions has also urged intervention, but the Employers and Manufacturers Association and Federated Farmers have said this would lift prices for vital imports such as fuel.