Reserve Bank changes help to meet public expectations

Release date
05 June 2019

The Reserve Bank has significantly changed the way it makes monetary policy decisions, keeping itself in step with public expectations.

In a panel discussion last week at the Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies (Bank of Japan) in Tokyo, Reserve Bank Assistant Governor and General Manager of Economics, Financial Markets and Banking Christian Hawkesby talked about the importance of good decision making and governance, and of being credible and trusted, in achieving the long-term goal of improving wellbeing.

“We maintain our legitimacy as an institution by serving the public interest and fulfilling our social obligations. Keeping our ‘social licence’ to operate depends on maintaining the public’s trust that we are improving wellbeing,” Mr Hawkesby said.

“Thirty years ago New Zealand was prepared to accept a single expert – the Governor – making decisions about how to fight inflation. People now expect to see how and why decisions are made, expect that decision makers reflect wider society, and that current issues and concerns are factored into the decision making. By meeting these expectations, we can improve public trust in the legitimacy of the Reserve Bank’s work,” he said.

Mr Hawkesby outlined the new committee process that the Reserve Bank uses for deciding the official cash rate, noting that diversity among decision makers improves the pool of knowledge, insures against extreme views, and reduces groupthink.

“This diversity is needed to confront issues such as climate, technological, and other structural and social changes,” he said.

He also said that collaboration with government can be undertaken in a way that maintains the Reserve Bank’s political independence while working on the broader objective of improving wellbeing.

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