"Desperate politicians say desperate things. In Parliament last Wednesday, an Associate Finance Minister, Trevor Mallard, said the Reserve Bank Act, 20 years old next year, had not worked as well in its second decade as it had in its first, and that the Government was open to alterations.
This is the sort of talk that can shake the foundations of economic stability. The act has been the means by which inflation was brought under control and kept under control with largely bipartisan support. Why would a senior Labour minister disturb it now?
Possibly Mr Mallard is expressing a maverick view, but that seems unlikely. If Michael Cullen should decide to retire at this year's election, Mr Mallard is his probable replacement. Conceivably he could be Finance Minister when Labour bids for a fourth term."
This is indeed a concern, especially when Labour seeks to do backroom deals with the likes of Winston Peters, long-time Reserve Bank Act critic. However the editorial's closing paragraphns should leave no doubt that Labour is again looking for electoral advantage in an area that should be free of politicking - the very raison d'etre for the Reserve Bank Act:
"The Government has clearly hoped interest rates can be lowered before the election. It believed the May Budget, despite its projected tax cuts, gave Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard the room to reduce rates.
The independence he has under the act enables him to make a decision unclouded by political considerations. And the act's clarity of purpose makes his decisions effective.
The act has been a pillar of stability and prosperity for nearly 20 years. No wannabe finance minister should trifle with it."