December 15, 2017 / 1:50 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-NZ finance minister says "comfortable" with trend in NZ dollar

(Adds more quotes, context on policy and politics)

WELLINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Friday he was comfortable with the general trend of the local currency, which took a hammering over the past few months after a change of government raised uncertainty over planned policy changes.

Robertson told CNBC in an interview that the New Zealand dollar, the 11th most traded currency in the world, had slipped from very high levels.

“We want a sustainable exchange rate that gives our exporters a fair go,” he said.

Political uncertainty following an inconclusive election and a change in government earlier this year dented the New Zealand dollar. It bounced this week after the announcement of a well-regarded former central banker as the new governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ).

“I am comfortable with the general trend but specific targets for the exchange rate are not ones for the finance minister,” Robertson said.

Labour has promised to spread prosperity more broadly, and will ban some foreigners from buying New Zealand property from early next year. It is also undertaking a central bank review aimed at adding employment to its inflation-targeting mandate.

The New Zealand dollar was last up 0.11 percent on the day at $0.6990 against the U.S. dollar, but still about 4.8 percent lower since before the Sept. 23 election.

It hit a three week highs earlier this week after the well-known national pension fund chief Adrian Orr, also a former central banker, was appointed to become the RBNZ’s new chief from March.

Labour took the reins in October, when it got the backing of the small nationalist party holding the balance of power after the elections, putting and end to nearly a decade of National rule. (Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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