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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Banking investigation incoming, but don't get your hopes up

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Mar 2023, 5:33PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Banking investigation incoming, but don't get your hopes up

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Mar 2023, 5:33PM

It’s probably a safe bet now to say that there is going to be an investigation into banking profits 

I mean, Labour can hardly stop one now. Not now that virtually everyone else is lining up for one.

You've got National, The Greens, ACT, The Reserve Bank, Tex Edwards’ Monopoly Watch, Consumer NZ, and regular bank basher Sam Stubbs all calling for a probe.

So realistically, Labour has to say yes to one.

The party of the working man is hardly going to be the one to protect the banks.

And good, because as we said last week, we might as well have one.

We moan about bank profits so often, it would actually be helpful to once and for all settle the question over whether they’re ripping us off.

But I'm warning you, don’t get excited and expect anything to change. Because it probably won’t.

Outside chance it does change, but probably not.

Because to change anything would take a huge market intervention. You'd have to do something radical, like break up some of the banks.

And how badly would that freak out investors? 

Or slap on a massive windfall tax- and do you really believe the banks won’t just pass that on to you, the consumer? 

Or put huge amounts of money into KiwiBank so it really can compete, but Grant Robertson’s been pretty lukewarm on that.

Again, outside chance, but probably not.

It didn’t happen with supermarkets, it didn’t happen with petrol retailers, and it didn’t happen with the big construction supply guys.

So it’s probably not going to happen with banks.

Still, it’s worthwhile to look under the hood, find out if the banks really are ripping us off or not.

But just don’t get your hopes up for much more than that.

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