National winners announced in Monetary Policy Challenge

Release date
22 August 2008

The Reserve Bank announced today that Scots College from Wellington, is the national winner of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand 2008 Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Columba College from Dunedin placed second in the national final, and Westlake Boys' High School from Auckland came third.

The national final took place at the Reserve Bank in Wellington on 21 August and was hotly contested. Three economists from the Reserve Bank were judges.

Scots College won $2,500 in prize money for their school and will visit the Reserve Bank on 11 September to watch the announcement of the next Monetary Policy Statement by Governor Alan Bollard.

Columba College won $1,500 and Westlake Boys' High School won $750 in prize money for their respective schools. The other competitors in the national final were Christchurch Girls' High School, Diocesan School for Girls (Auckland) and Hillcrest High School (Hamilton).

The judges were particularly impressed with the depth of economic understanding shown by Scot's College. "Scot's College worked exceptionally well together to answer some very tough questions" they said.

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.

Acting Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer 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 MPC is open to all New Zealand secondary school economics students and runs annually from May to August. This year over 70 schools from Whangarei to Dunedin entered the competition.

For further information contact:
Amy Stapleton
Phone: 0274 346 259
Email: amy.stapleton@rbnz.govt.nz
Website: http://rbnz.govt.nz/challenge