National finalists announced in Monetary Policy Challenge
All national finalists were selected from 52 schools that competed in regional finals from 4 August to 12 August 2008. Regional finals were held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Two economists from the Reserve Bank were judges.
The national finalists are: Westlake Boys' High School and Diocesan School for Girls from the Auckland regional final; Hillcrest High School from the Waikato regional final; Scots College from the Wellington regional final; Christchurch Girls' High School from the Christchurch regional final; and Columba College from the Southern Region regional final. All winning team members receive a $50 book voucher and certificate in recognition of their achievement.
Judges were impressed with the level of comprehension each winning team demonstrated in their written submission and oral presentation. "Their ability to take the economic theory they had learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-world situation took a great deal of skill," they commented.
The MPC is designed to expand senior secondary school economics students' understanding of monetary policy and links to NCEA achievement standards.
Just like economists working in the Reserve Bank, each team analyses the economic conditions facing New Zealand and the outlook for inflation. On the basis of that analysis, they decide on an appropriate setting for the Official Cash Rate (the Reserve Bank's interest rate). Each team presents the reasons for their decision in a written submission and, if selected as a regional finalist, an oral presentation.
Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said: "The Challenge gets students thinking about how the New Zealand 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. And tomorrow's New Zealand is going to need people with these skills, to help us do better."
The national final takes place at the Reserve Bank in Wellington on Thursday, 21 August. The winning team will receive $2,500 for their school and will be invited back to the Reserve Bank on 11 September 2008 to watch the Governor announce the Monetary Policy Statement.