Return to orthodoxy the last thing we need: Response to Matthew Hooton


Matthew Hooton is listed as a public relations consultant. He’s good at that so he should stick to it because economics is clearly not his strong point.

I recall a candidates meeting last election where, as one of the guest commentators, he smugly tried to trip me up with what he thought was a curly economic question. He lost.

He suggests the “extraordinary success of the Reserve Bank Act 1989 in killing inflation means an entire generation — including Ardern — has never experienced how evil it is”, going on to suggest that then governor Don Brash beat inflation in the early 1990s. 

Since the whole world was able to achieve that status Brash can hardly be credited with being the slayer of the inflation dragon and nor can the Reserve Bank Act 1989.

The government owned Reserve Bank currently owns around 60% of the debt the government has incurred by borrowing. It has done that through a process known as quantitative easing. In layman’s language, digital money printing.

Because of the crazy money-go-round it’s used to buy the debt off the commercial banks, it’s cost taxpayers billions in premiums over and above the price of the actual debt, but at least it means the interest payments taxpayers are funding on that portion of the debt is now going to the Reserve Bank. 

That interest will be funnelled back to the government who owns the Reserve Bank as profit for it to spend instead of into the pockets of the overseas shareholders of the commercial banks (Bank of America and Chase Manhattan for example) that it would normally go to.

One wonders if Mr Hooton has shares in the commercial banks because apparently he wants to return to orthodoxy – taxpayers subsidising the profits of those commercial banks.

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And he should not forget that the government has another $40 billion that it’s already borrowed (which taxpayers are paying interest on) sitting in an account at the Reserve Bank – so it really doesn’t need to borrow more. 

Perhaps it should send that back to the commercial banks that created it out of thin air in the first place, as they do with all money they lend including for mortgages, overdrafts and businesses.

How much better for the country would it have been to follow the advice of the jointly prepared Treasury and Reserve Bank aide memoire it received in May last year.

That report pointed out that it would have been much more efficient for the government to avail itself of ‘direct monetary financing’ – the Reserve Bank creating money and putting it straight into an account for the government to spend, exactly what commercial banks do for borrowers.

That would have avoided the drain on taxpayer money of being required to pay interest to commercial banks, and even the need to repay the sum borrowed.

After all, if the government is borrowing from its own bank, neither would be absolutely necessary.

Of course it could borrow from its own bank and follow orthodoxy – pay interest and the original sum borrowed – effectively, as economist Ganesh Nana said, back to itself.

Either way the government would have billions to spend on hospitals, infrastructure like water and waste water, houses for those currently residing in motel rooms, and really alleviating poverty instead of giving lip service to doing so.

Falling into the trap of returning to orthodoxy won’t fix any of those issues. Orthodoxy hasn’t in the past and there is nothing to indicate it can or will in the future.

Returning to it would be like going back to the horse and cart, rather than revelling in the freedom that the new unorthodox internal combustion engine conferred on our forbearers of the early 20th century and eventually a transport fleet of EV’s or hydrogen powered vehicles on those living in the 21st. 

I don’t know what Mr Hooton drives, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t swap it for a horse and cart.


Chris Leitch – Social Credit 



  1. Great plan until the value of the NZD collapses when the markets see that it has no value. If the Government can just print more what value does it have? None. What a bonkers idea.

    • Money has no value except to represent the value of the commodities it is exchanged for. Leitch’s plan will work as long as the money printed to stimulate growth is state owned and the goods and services produced as a result are of sufficient value to match the money supply and avoid inflation. But all of that prints no profits for banks so international banks continue to keep workers alive producing value, and governments subservient to their rule, so they can suck the value produced like the parasites they are. The big private banks have to go – Expropriate without compensation! One state bank!

  2. Its a little more complicated than this I would say and extricating yourself not so easy. Russia and China are examples of countries that are net exporters so their countries are not vulnerable to currency fluctuations since regardless they always spend less overseas than they sell. In nz we are easily manipulated because we need more foreign currency to buy stuff than we recieve from sales. So any independence from us that significantly impacts bank monopoly profits is easily shut down. Both China and Russia are implementing the ability to trade in local currencies so contrary to the neoliberal screaming against our dependence in trade with China, it should be encouraged along with a Russian fta and we should be pushing the use of local currency settlements because it is only then that we would be in a position to test the waters on the nz rb directly funding the govt without being made a basket case by western finance.

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