But the Dominion-Post, not normally known for its right-wing leanings has quickly dismissed the Green Party's master economic plan to roll the presses. Under the headline Greens' plan misses the mark the Tuesday editorial began thus:
The Green Party suggestion that the Reserve Bank print money to bring down the value of the dollar is an elaborate form of cross-subsidy. To assist hard-pressed exporters, the party wants the rest of the country to pay more for petrol and other imports. The idea should not get off the ground.
New Zealand must operate in the world as it is, not the world as it wishes it to be.
It is a world that is often arbitrary and unfair. Eleven years ago the kiwi was trading at 40 cents against the United States dollar. Today one kiwi buys US81c.
Great for those buying US goods - they get twice as much for their money - but ruinous for those trying to sell into the US market.
However, New Zealand should have learned from bitter experience that it cannot shield itself from the vagaries of the international market. Labour and National tried that in the 1970s and early 1980s and ran up debts that took a generation to repay.
We voted for the first time in the 1970's so we have a clear memory of the times referred to. We were at the Palmerston North Opera House in 1972 when Labour leader Norman Kirk opened Labour's campaign, and promised among other things to "knock inflation for six". In 1975, one of Sir Robert Muldoon's favourite party lines was that Labour promised to knock inflation for six, but actually knocked it for twelve; twelve percent!
The Great Economic Wizard had little more success, and the interventionist economic policies of Muldoon gave us a wage and price freeze which was fine while it lasted; but when the brakes came off, wages and prices skyrocketed. It was around this time that we built our first home; with a first mortgage at 18% interest, and a second mortgage at 24%. Mortgage interest rates in the mid-fives were but a distant dream.
So we've seen New Zealand politicians go down the interventionist road, and it doesn't work. But more importantly, our current economic woes are external, as the Dom-Post notes:
New Zealand is a small trading nation a long way from its markets. The only way for it to survive and prosper is to be flexible, adaptable and resilient. If the balance of economic power in the world is shifting, there is no use pretending it is not.
The decline in the value of the US dollar and the euro is a reflection of the decline in the relative worth of the American and European economies.
The attempts by American and some European policy-makers to reboot their economies by printing money are acts of political desperation.
It makes no sense for a country which has weathered the global financial crisis better than most of its Western counterparts to emulate their risky tactics. Printing money - or quantitative easing as it is technically known - fuels inflation, devalues assets and reduces purchasing power. Once started it is difficult to stop, as Germans discovered in the 1920s when wheelbarrows replaced wallets as the most efficient means of carting cash.
The leader writer is right on the money, if you'll pardon the financial reference. The value of the New Zealand dollar is high because the value of the US dollar has plunged. And what has been one of Barack Obama's key tools to help the ailing US economy? Yes; quantitative easing.
And in closing, the editorial suggests that there are other areas on which the Greens could focus instead of resurrecting Sir Robert's interventionist spirit; read on:
If the Greens are serious about assisting exporters there is plenty they can do. They could start by focusing on initiatives that will reduce business costs while preserving the things New Zealanders hold dear.
Into the latter category fall such things as this country's unique environment, an education system that attempts to give every child an opportunity to fulfil his or her potential, the public health system, a welfare system that acts as a safety net at times of misfortune, and a pension scheme that provides for dignity in old age.
Into the unaffordable-luxury category should be put the extras that have been added on to curry favour with voters. Interest-free student loans and the many and various forms of middle-class welfare devised by successive governments come at a cost. It is a cost borne by exporters and their staff. So too is the cost of indulging New Zealanders' love affair with property speculation - an anomaly rightly highlighted by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
Exporters and their employees need help. However, it will not come in the form of a magic bullet. The solution is sound, consistent policy.
This is an excellent editorial from the Dom-Post. And since its publication the Government's books have been opened showing an improvement in the deficit, and a stronger economy than many of the countries we compare ourselves to. A quick fix such as printing money is not the answer to our economic woes.