Kiwi PM in favour of single currency

April 21, 2009

A Trans- Tasman currency is "not a silly idea" but it's unlikely to happen soon, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says. The Kiwi leader says it is time the trans-Tasman neighbours became more integrated in terms of trade, tourism and climate change, and said sharing a currency was another concept he supported. Despite the differences between the two economies, he believed there were many similarities that would suit a monetary union. "There's inevitably a huge amount of synergy between New Zealand and Australia and obviously a lot of investment and a lot of trade, and a single currency would create a much larger, seamless market,'' Mr Key said. "But I think it's unlikely to be on the political agenda any time soon,'' he said, backing a recent statement from Australia’s Prime \minister, Kevin Rudd that it's "not on the table''. Mr Key said he also hoped the two countries could make more advances in developing a single economic market. The bilateral Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement was comprehensive in terms of trade, but there was room to integrate the two markets further, the Prime Minister said. It makes sense on both sides of the Tasman for that to occur,'' Mr Key said. "But it's a long, slow process, involving everything from capital markets to regulation.'' Mr Key, who is also New Zealand's tourism minister, was behind a recent boost in funding to entice more Australians to holiday across the Tasman. Another plan to create a common border will allow trans-Tasman travellers to avoid customs and immigration, dropping flight prices by up to 30 per cent and allowing an explosion in potential new flight routes. Mr Key said the two governments had "made progress'' on the plan, which could be in place in a year.