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A `Reminder' To Banks As National Releases Its Rescue Package

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, Oct 31 NZPA - John Key warned banks today -- he used the word "reminded" -- that National expects them to take it easy on customers who run into trouble with their mortgage payments because of the fallout from the global economic crisis.

Mr Key was unveiling National's $42 million support package for laid off workers, and he said the banks had benefited from the Government's deposit guarantees.

"I expect the banks to do what they can to show New Zealanders who need it flexibility in the face of tough circumstances, in the same way they have been extended a helping hand by the New Zealand Government," he said.

National and Labour have competed with rescue packages for people who lost their jobs because of the recession, and today it was National's turn to reveal its plan.

It is more tightly targeted than the scheme announced yesterday by Labour but potentially gives more to those who receive help through it.

Mr Key said it would give a boost to those "truly in need" -- individuals, single income families and solo parents already eligible for benefit assistance if they lost their job.

Labour leader Helen Clark said it was too narrow and offered nothing for couples who could have very large mortgages or rent payments.

Miss Clark said National was overstating the benefits of its package.

"I think it is a lot of smoke and mirrors."

In other campaign developments today:

* Transport Minister Annette King said the Government would announce within days whether it would use a public-private partnership to build a $2 billion, 5km stretch of Auckland highway.

Ministers want to complete the Waterview Connection, a part of the 48km-long Western Ring Route, by 2015.

Ms King said an announcement was "only days away", and it is expected to reignite the debate on tolling.

* The Greens backed Mr Key's message to the banks and co-leader Russel Norman said they also had a responsibility not to drain liquidity from the financial system.

"ANZ National and Westpac recently announced large profits. If these are sent to their Australian owners it will negate attempts by the Reserve Bank to provide lines of liquidity to the banks," he said.

* Labour released its foreign policy, proposing a new and expanded role for New Zealand in international conflict resolution.

Cabinet minister Phil Goff, a former foreign minister, said a Labour-led government would consider assembling conflict resolution teams and giving the UN a list of New Zealanders who had the skills to be personal envoys.

NZPA PAR pw nb

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