Rangitoto College wins Monetary Policy Challenge

Release date
24 August 2012

The Reserve Bank has announced today that Rangitoto College from Auckland is the national winner of the Reserve Bank 2012 Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Burnside High School from Christchurch was placed second and Waikato Diocesan School for Girls from Hamilton came third.

The MPC is designed to expand senior secondary school economics students' understanding of monetary policy, and it links to NCEA achievement standards.

The national final took place at the Reserve Bank in Wellington yesterday and was hotly contested. The judges were Assistant Governor John McDermott and two Bank economists, Tony Wolken and Gillian Lawrence.

The judges said that all finalists performed to a very high standard, and selecting the winning school was an especially difficult task this year. They were particularly impressed with the depth of economic understanding shown by the Rangitoto College team.

"They answered a number of difficult questions with great composure and teamwork. They clearly demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of economic relationships," the judges said.

Rangitoto College won $2,500 in prize money for their school and will visit the Reserve Bank on 13 September to watch the announcement of the next Monetary Policy Statement by Governor Alan Bollard.

Burnside High School won $1,500 and Waikato Diocesan School for Girls won $750 in prize money for their respective schools. The other competitors in the national final were Macleans College (Auckland), Scots College (Wellington) and John McGlashan College (Dunedin).

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 provides the reasons for their decision in a written submission and, if selected as a regional or national finalist, an oral presentation.

"Rather than just expecting students to learn established facts, this competition confronts them with the challenges, ambiguity and uncertainty of actual decision-making," Dr McDermott said.

The MPC is open to all New Zealand secondary school economics students and runs annually from May to August.

Media contact:
Emily Pedersen, Internal Communications Adviser
04 471 3767, 027 323 0896, emily.pedersen@rbnz.govt.nz