Saint Kentigern College Wins Reserve Bank Economics Challenge

Release date
24 August 2006

Seventy-two schools, spanning the length of New Zealand from Springbank School in Kerikeri to Invercargill's Southland Girls' High School, entered this year's Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Then teams from 43 schools met the challenge in regional competitions held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Today, Auckland based Saint Kentigern College students Neeharika Chowdhary, Lisa Li, Han Chen, Tom Devereux and Jonathan Spence won the National Final of the MPC held at the Reserve Bank in Wellington.

Burnside High School (Christchurch) were placed second Hutt Valley High School (Wellington) were third, and John McGlashan College (Dunedin) and Hillcrest High School, (Hamilton) received distinction awards.

Grant Spencer, Head of Economics and Assistant Governor at the Reserve Bank and the Challenge's head judge, was impressed with the overall standard of the teams and their knowledge of economic concepts.

The MPC is designed to expand Year 11-13 economics students' understanding of monetary policy. Like economists working in the Reserve Bank, the teams analysed the economy and inflation forecasts. On the basis of this analysis they offered a mock-setting of the Reserve Bank's key interest rate, the Official Cash Rate (OCR).

The Challenge encourages the use of inquiry learning techniques and is designed to be an extension of the secondary school level economics curriculum. Grant Spencer commented: "The Challenge gets students thinking about how New Zealand's economy works, what influences it and the impacts of economic policy. It confronts students with the difficulties and considerations involved in a decision-making process."

Each team member that participated in the final received a $50 book voucher and a certificate. Saint Kentigern College received $2,812 in prize money. Second placed Burnside High School received $1,620 and $810 was awarded to Hutt Valley High School for third place.

The winning team has been invited back to the Reserve Bank to attend the September 2006 Monetary Policy Statement release; where they will witness an OCR announcement, first hand.

For further information from the Reserve Bank contact:
Savaia Stevenson, Communications Adviser, 021 72 82 42, savaia.stevenson@rbnz.govt.nz