Finance committee chairman no stranger to scrutinising the books

By Jacqueline Smith

Former investment banker and Hawkes Bay MP Craig Foss will be keeping a close eye on the Government's books as chairman of the finance and expenditure select committee.

Foss, 45, was appointed to the role on Wednesday after holding the position of National's associate spokesman for the committee the body that scrutinises the nation's central bank and budget for the past three years.

Foss worked at the top of investment banking for 15 years. He was a chief dealer for Bank of New Zealand and a managing director for Credit Suisse Financial Products, based in London and Tokyo.

Foss said it was common knowledge that the Government's accounts were "not looking very flash at all", and expected next week's update to reveal they had deteriorated further, but hoped to see them in a better state after three years of National Party leadership.

National's swift move to pass KiwiSaver and tax cut legislation yesterday was "the speed we intend to continue", Foss said.

The finance and expenditure committee reviews the Government's need to raise or spend funds. It examines the way the economy affects the fiscal books, and how the books affect the wider New Zealand public.

And the committee makes sure financial legislation is robust, long-lasting and fulfils its intentions.

Foss says he brings considerable knowledge of the financial system to the role.

When he resigned from Credit Suisse in 2000 he was a managing director responsible for Japanese and Pacific interest rate trading. Then he returned to New Zealand and settled in Waimarama near Havelock North with his wife, Kristal, and two daughters.

He was elected MP for Tukituki, in 2005 and this year tripled his margin, winning over 7000 votes.

Chris Tremain, MP for Napier, will be deputy chairman of the committee.

"I think it's very important for the region that two locally elected MPs have such senior roles," Foss said.

- NZ Herald

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