Inquiry into COVID-19 economic response necessary

The Green Party is again calling on the Government to review the economic response to COVID-19, as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand puts up the Official Cash Rate today to 2 percent.

"High inflation is not experienced equally, and for people on the lowest incomes this means struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table," says Julie Anne Genter, Finance spokesperson for the Green Party.

"RBNZ is stuck between a rock and a hard place now because of the action they took during the pandemic, so it’s important to review the economic response to COVID-19, both positive and negative, of the Government and the RBNZ. An inquiry would provide insights for the remaining stages of this pandemic and help the Government respond to current and future economic challenges.

"The Government's reliance on the Reserve Bank's lowering of interest rates to boost demand in the economy has had the unwanted side-effect of pushing up house prices across the country. The combination of monetary and fiscal policy led to the biggest transfers of wealth to the richest New Zealanders, who still do not pay their fair share of tax."

Chlöe Swarbrick initially pushed for the inquiry in a letter to the Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Committee in February.

"We are two years into the pandemic and COVID-19, and the Government's response to it has had clear macroeconomic impacts. While our unemployment levels are low, house prices and rents have skyrocketed," says Julie Anne Genter.

"Banks and supermarkets have reported record profits while renters, students and those with precarious incomes have felt the disproportionate impact of global inflation."

ENDS

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