Monetary Policy Challenge

Judging criteria

The Monetary Policy Challenge is judged by Reserve Bank economists who want to see each school excel in the competition. Written feedback will be provided after each stage of the competition as well as an overall grade.

Online presentation

Policy assessment and preparing your slides

A template has been provided as a guide for your monetary policy decision. The presentation is an opportunity for you to use an assessment of current and expected future economic conditions in order to justify and explain your decision on the Official Cash Rate.

Judges will be looking for:

  • A clear Official Cash Rate decision – be upfront about your decision by including it in your first or second slide.
  • A logical structure – structure your slides in a way that best enhances your argument. It is great to see you assess a range of indicators and consider important issues from both sides, but be sure we can still see why you came to your Official Cash Rate decision.
  • A wide range of sources for your information (e.g. newspapers, private banks, other public sector organisations). However, make sure you adequately reference these sources; remember that we are likely to have seen this information and so will recognise it as someone else's argument. You may use any referencing system – the important thing is making sure it is clear where and who the information came from.
  • Clear slides with correct spelling and grammar.

The judges will not be giving marks for correctly ‘guessing' what the Reserve Bank's next interest rate move will actually be. Rather, they will be interested in how you justify your decision. Even if the Reserve Bank has since made a different decision, keep your decision the same for the online presentation and show how your analysis logically follows through to your decision.


Judges will be looking for:

  • a logical structure as you present – you may all share the presenting or just have one person present, it's up to you.
  • your ability to explain why you think things have happened/are going to happen – back up your arguments with relevant information and data.
  • good use of appropriate charts that are well presented. Charts are a very useful way to present ideas and a great basis for discussion – just make sure the judges can see them.
  • clearly communicating your main thoughts and key ideas.

It's great to see students who are prepared to talk without notes, based on key ideas. But if you're not comfortable with that, you are welcome to read from a prepared speech.

Questions and answers

In the question and answer session the judges will ask questions to see how your team thinks, particularly how you reached your decision. The judges encourage team discussion, so make sure you discuss your answers as a team before one team member provides an overall response.

  • If faced with a problem you don't immediately know the answer to, show how you might logically step through it. Start by telling the judges what you do know; if you think out loud the judges can help lead you in the right direction.
  • Remember, the judges are not just interested in economic theory in isolation. It is good to use what you have learnt in your economics class as a basis for thinking through or structuring your answers, but you can also apply other sources of knowledge – what you read in the paper in the morning, know-how from your part-time job, or anecdotal evidence from a relative's business operations.
  • The judges are not looking for an individual winner, rather the best team, so make sure everyone gets a chance to contribute to the discussion.

Here are some examples of questions asked by the judges in previous years:

  1. What are the costs of inflation?
  2. If it was found that New Zealand livestock had foot and mouth disease, can you explain how this would affect economic activity in New Zealand and, in turn, what would be the appropriate monetary policy response from the Reserve Bank?
  3. The exchange rate has been very high against the US dollar for some time. Why do you think this is?

National final

The judging criteria for the national final will be similar to that of the online presentations. However, there will be the expectation that teams will have taken on board previous feedback from the judges.

The judges will also focus on the depth of knowledge within the team as well as how well they work as a group.