Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Norman reversal won't win finance job: Shearer

Labour last night welcomed the Greens' u-turn. Finance spokesman David Parker said the Greens' policy had been "an unhelpful position". Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour last night welcomed the Greens' u-turn. Finance spokesman David Parker said the Greens' policy had been "an unhelpful position". Photo / Mark Mitchell

The back-down by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman on money-printing may make him more compatible with Labour's positions on monetary policy but he will not be finance minister in a Labour-led government, Labour leader David Shearer made clear yesterday.

Labour last night welcomed the Greens' u-turn. Finance spokesman David Parker said the Greens' policy had been "an unhelpful position".

Announcing the reversal, Dr Norman, when asked if he could realistically be finance minister in a Labour-led government, said "We shall see. All portfolios are on the table."

Mr Shearer scotched that suggestion, again.

"The next Labour-led government will have a Labour minister of finance and that will be David Parker," he said yesterday.

The Greens proposed money-printing - also known as quantitative easing - last October, among a range of measures to take pressure off the dollar and help the export sector but Labour did not support it.

It has been repeatedly condemned by Prime Minister John Key who has characterised the Greens as wacky and linked Labour to the policy, too.

Dr Norman said that during the course of the Manufacturing Inquiry - by Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First - he realised the policy did not have the support to be implemented.

The change in the policy showed that the Greens had listened, he said yesterday.

Mr Parker said he was pleased the Greens had dropped it.

It had enabled the Government to escape scrutiny as to whether other changes in monetary policy were necessary.

Asked if Labour was considering ditching any of its controversial policies, such as gradually raising the age of entitlement to superannuation, he said Labour would not conduct coalition negotiations in advance of the election - a reference to New Zealand First which opposes the policy.

"We remain committed to our policies because we believe them to be proper and in the interests of New Zealand."

Labour has signalled it will drop at least three of its economic policies, although more for reasons of fiscal restraint than unpopularity: paying into the Cullen super fund before the country returns to surplus, removing GST from fruit and vegetables and making the first $5000 of income tax-free.

- NZ Herald

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