Westlake Boys High School wins Monetary Policy Challenge

Release date
23 August 2013

The Reserve Bank has announced today that Westlake Boys High School from Auckland is the national winner of the Reserve Bank 2013 Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Saint Kentigern College from Auckland was placed second and Christchurch Girls' High School 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 strongly contested. The judges were Assistant Governor John McDermott and two Bank economists, Geordie Reid and Nick Sander.

The judges said that all the presentations were excellent, using appropriate frameworks to provide sound justifications for each team's individual decision. They were particularly impressed with the clear understanding of the role and limits of monetary policy shown by the Westlake Boys High School team.

"All the schools coped extremely well with some very challenging questions and their teamwork was first rate," Dr McDermott said.

Westlake Boys High School won $2500 in prize money for their school and will visit the Reserve Bank on 12 September to watch the release of the next Monetary Policy Statement by Governor Graeme Wheeler.

Saint Kentigern College won $1500 and Christchurch Girls High School won $750 in prize money for their respective schools. The other competitors in the national final were Hutt Valley High (Wellington), Waitaki Girls' High (Oamaru) and Tauranga Boys' College.

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.

"It was really great to see how much effort teams had put into the competition, and their breadth of knowledge about economic principles and the role of the Reserve Bank," Dr McDermott said.

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

Media contact:
Rachael Drummond, Internal Communications Adviser
04 471 3767, rachael.drummond@rbnz.govt.nz