Over the past weeks, a familiar mood has cropped up when I have been out talking to members of the ethnic community on the street, at events and in shops.The mood is one of anger and outrage at the reluctance of the National-led Government to support an inquiry into banking profits and its failure to stand up on behalf of all hard working New Zealand families.
Many people I have spoken to believe they are paying higher interest rates than they should be paying. It seems to me the best way to work out whether hard working New Zealanders and businesses are getting a fair deal is to hold an inquiry into the relationship between the Official Cash Rate and short term interest rates. This way all the facts will be put on the table and people can see whether they are being treated fairly by their banks.
The mood has generated huge media attention in the Asian communities.
As a result, the Auckland-based World TV, which broadcasts 10 channels in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, sent its crew to the electoral office of the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Phill Goff, and invited Labour finance spokesperson, Hon David Cunliffe, to specifically talk to the Asian communities on this issue.
I had the pleasure of appearing alongside Hon Phill Goff and David Cunliffe.
Asians are passionate about numbers, so I reiterate a startling statistic which was mentioned in the interview on World TV:
Over the past year the Reserve Bank has cut the OCR by 575 basis points, but business lending rates have only fallen by 243 points, and the floating first mortgage rate has fallen by 446 points.
The Labour Party, Greens and the Progressives announced on July 27 their intention to hold the equivalent of a parliamentary select committee inquiry into bank profits.
As a member of the Finance and Expenditure Committee, I witnessed how hard the Labour team – led by Hon David Cunliffe – fought in vain to convince the Government to hold such an inquiry.
The feedback from Asian communities has been over-whelming in favour of such a move. Mr Sam Lee of Pakuranga rang me expressing his approval and support of Labour’s move. ”All we ask is an inquiry. What is National worried about? All we want is a fair deal,” said Mr Sam Lee.
If you would like any more information visit the bank inquiry website: http://www.bankinquiry.org.nz