Minister Jones to make ANZ chief “keenly aware” of rural NZ’s concerns

As part of his official visit to Australia, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones will meet with ANZ bank’s chief executive, Shayne Elliot, in an attempt to make the latter “keenly aware of the sense of foreboding” he has placed on rural New Zealand.

While the Minister says he is open to listening to the concerns of the bank’s chief when it comes to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) new capital requirement rules, he will also discuss concerns about ANZ’s operations in New Zealand.

Elliott threatened to review the "size, nature and operations" of the New Zealand business if RBNZ implements its proposed changes to capital ratios. Those changes would mean ANZ, and other banks, would need to have more money on hand.

The ANZ boss said the new rules would mean the bank would have to reduce its investments and reallocate resources away from New Zealand to more profitable businesses.

Minister Jones worries this would hit rural Kiwi banks the hardest and rural communities now have a “sense of foreboding” he wants to convey to Elliott.

The Minister said what happens with the capital requirements was for RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr to decide, since the Reserve Bank is independent from the Government.

"I accept that the Reserve Bank is something akin to an autonomous vehicle; it seems to be powered by rarefied fuel that ordinary politicians are not allowed to comment on, but I belong to New Zealand First and we're not the Reserve Bank. So he [Orr] has his role and I've got my role.”

"I'm not really in a position to defend Adrian Orr; he seems more than capable of defending himself. I'm here as a politician concerned about industry, concerned about jobs,” Minister Jones added.

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