NZ First mulls COVID-19 clampdown on banks

New Zealand First believes Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr isn't being tough enough on banks and will discuss demands for a Government clampdown.

NZ First MP and Associate Finance Minister Shane Jones says his Party received multiple reports small businesses are being charged sky-high interest rates during the Covid-19 downturn. He said NZ First are mulling ways to take a tougher line on banks.

The Cabinet Minister also alleged RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr was playing too nicely with the banks and "sugarcoating" the actions they'd taken in response to the pandemic.

He said Orr's performance at the Epidemic Response Committee last Thursday didn't meet the standards expected of a regulator.

"I heard very clearly what the Governor of the Reserve Bank had to say to the select committee last week. He said words to the effect that banks need to play nice with the business community," Minister Jones said.

"Ordinarily it's the job of the politicians to sugarcoat, not the regulator of the banking industry," he said.

Minister Jones said NZ First would hold caucus discussions on new ways to crack down on the banks. He and other MPs had been flooded with complaints from constituents.

The worst of these included allegations that SMEs were being charged interest rates of 25 percent on their overdrafts.

"Any suggestion that a 25 percent overdraft figure is's worse than anything in the bloody rotten days of Rogernomics," the Minister said.

"It's common sense that a lot of small businesses will find themselves in OD [overdraft] because they haven't been paid for the last five weeks," he added.

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