Govt doing all it can for households hit by interest rates rises - English

Bill English

The Finance Minister Bill English told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the Government is doing all it can to help households affected by interest rate rises:

“There isn't some kind of magic solution her like jiggery-pokery with the Reserve Bank Act, or pretending prices are lower than they are, which is what the Greens and Labour are promising.  It's about the kind of diligent hard work we've all been doing, not just this government but households and businesses, becoming more productive, more careful with our spending, getting debt down, a bit less consumption, and good control of inflation.  So we have the opportunity here for a sustained economic recovery, and if we work on keeping our costs down, increasing our productivity, we could have four or five years where there are more jobs and higher incomes, and that’s what helps households get on top of increases in interest rates.”

He said this week’s OCR increase is due to the relative strength of our economy

“The small increase in interest rates that was announced the other day is an indication of the relative strength of our economy.  There's a lot of economies around the world would like to see some signs that interest rates were reflecting the fact that the economy's growing.  The other job we have is to support households and businesses by doing everything a government can to reduce pressure on what are inevitably rising interest rates and we're pretty clear about that where we can influence that pressure, it's around the housing market where we spent two or three years working on improving supply to the housing market.  It's around the labour market where we're doing our best to align our training systems and migration with the skills that are needed in a tight labour market.

Mr English doesn’t want limits on foreigners buying houses in New Zealand.

“We don’t think that you can fix New Zealand's housing problems by picking on some buyers and saying that they shouldn’t be buying, because that takes you down the track of you know all sorts of people could get ruled out, because they're willing to pay a bit more for the house than the neighbour is.  What we're focusing on is getting flexible supply in Auckland, and I think we must compliment the Auckland City Council, they’ve understood that to have anything like reasonably affordable housing in Auckland, they need to have more of it, and they're getting on with the job, and over the next year or two that is going to change the dynamics of the Auckland housing market.”

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