Search
  • rmacculloch

So Robertson tolerates Financial Conflicts of Interest but has Zero Tolerance of Academic ones?

The media, including the NZ Herald, has been awash with stories about potential financial conflicts-of-interest arising from some of the new Directors who have been appointed to the Reserve Bank Board. The Minister of Finance seems relaxed about the matter.

However, Grant Robertson is not relaxed about appointing another potential type of person. For these folks (which includes the likes of .. me) there is zero tolerance. Interest.co.nz reported earlier this year, "Robertson in 2019 agreed with the RBNZ board & Treasury that when appointing members to the [monetary policy] committee, a "strict approach" should be taken to managing conflicts of interests ... This has included excluding from consideration any individuals who are engaged in, or likely to engage in future, active research on monetary policy or macroeconomics”. These lines were obtained from the Treasury under the Official Information Act - see pg 11 of Source 3 below.

Yes, "active" researcher-teacher types like me have been formally classified as conflicted, unable to be trusted and "strictly" forbidden from getting close to power.

Now you would have thought it was an advantage to have folks high up at the RBNZ who actually had knowledge about the latest developments in monetary policy & macro-economics. But no, it's absolutely not fine in New Zealand.

The explanation, it would seem, is obvious. In Wellington these days, diversity of opinion is not valued. They don't want anyone near the RBNZ, as well as a host of other Wellington offices, who are involved in "active research" which may lead them to having different views & opinions from the "official" one that is being pushed through.


Sources:

ONE

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/conflict-of-interest-director-tied-to-kiwibank-contracts-to-rbnz/Y46ECB7SAKXLM5UK3OWOABA67U/#:~:text=Jen%C3%A9e%20Tibshraeny&text=Central%20banking%20observers%20are%20worried,the%20RBNZ%20since%20October%2015.


TWO

https://www.interest.co.nz/public-policy/114423/policy-disqualify-monetary-policy-researchers-joining-reserve-banks-monetary


THREE

https://croakingcassandra.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/grant-robertson-oia-release-on-mpc-appointments.pdf