HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Wide ranging discussions in Japan
In Tokyo yesterday I took the opportunity to attend the plenary session of the IMF and WB meeting which featured major speeches by the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagard, the President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and the Crown Prince of Japan.
Ms LaGard pointed to the IMF’s downward revision of global growth in 2012 and 2013. Ms Lagard outlined that the top priority was for the world to get beyond the current crisis and to restore sufficient growth to generate jobs for the millions of unemployed.
Ms Lagard emphasized the need for action and cooperation amongst all players , mentioning that. “The key now is to move from deliberation—talking about it—to action, moving on the policies we know are needed, and moving together on all fronts.”
Ms Lagard pointed out to the worlds finance ministers that whilst economic reforms are crucial to moving forward governments need to be measured in their approach.
‘ It means focusing on efficiency but also keeping equity in mind when setting fiscal policy. It means fairness in sharing the burden of adjustment, and protecting the weak and vulnerable. It means better financial inclusion, so that all have access to credit and financial markets. It means better transparency and governance, so that the doors of opportunity are open to all—and if they close, one knows why.’
Mr Kim in his first meeting outlined his vision for the World Bank moving forward. Mr Kim outlined that the time has come for the World Bank to become a “solutions” bank, to listen, learn, and partner with countries and beneficiaries to build bottom-up solutions.
I also took the opportunity to meet with Hon. Bill English where I continued to press the issue of pension portability for Cook Islands. The matter is firmly in New Zealand’s hands as it will involve an amendment to the laws of New Zealand before any changes can be effected.
In my meeting with John Whitehead the Executive Director of the World Bank the issues of Cook Islands joining the IMF and the World Bank Group were discussed. The Cook Islands will be seeking World Bank assistance with a regulatory review of the telecommunications sector in the Cook Islands. I believe this will compliment our study of options for connecting to fibre cable infrastructure.
My discussions with John McDermott of the RBNZ centred around our recent banking review and in particular those recommendations which may see closer integration with the New Zealand banking system.
Tomorrow I will be attending the Small Islands States Forum which will examine issues to deal with the blue economy, the priorities of the World Bank, and ways in which countries like the Cook Islands can access climate change funding.
Mark Brown
Minister of Finance

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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