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Current as of 24/02/17 07:39PM NZST
NZ Herald business editor at large

Liam Dann: Wake up call Government can't ignore

If the Government needed another wake-up call it's got one.

ANZ chief executive David Hisco joins a growing list of conservative establishment figures calling for more urgent action on housing.

It's almost less a case of what's being said than who is saying it.

We've heard warnings from left-wing politicians and liberal economists for years.

But in the past few months there has been a dramatic shift with strong comment coming from Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, ex-Reserve Bank chairman Arthur Grimes, billionaire Stephen Jennings and now the boss of the country's biggest bank.

Listen: David Hisco talks about the property market:

Hisco hasn't directly targeted the Government but his conclusions that the Reserve Bank can't act alone, that a review of immigration is needed along with more investment, send a strong message.

And for a banker to call for stronger regulation than he has been prescribed is almost unprecedented.

Hisco appears to be warning the market that we will all face tighter lending criteria as banks struggle to fund the kind of figures required to service an Auckland mortgage.

Some on the left may question the motives of a highly-paid bank boss but ANZ's fortunes are undoubtedly entwined with those of the wider New Zealand economy.

If the market goes, all the retail banks could come a cropper too.

It is a sign of how badly imbalanced the equation has become that someone like Hisco is prepared to talk openly about forgoing earnings to minimise risk.

Whatever cynics may say about his motives for speaking out, Hisco has a clear view of 30 per cent of the market. If he's worried then maybe we all should be.

- NZ Herald

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