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  • rmacculloch

Who's Running NZ? Lawyers & accountants, of course.

The Reserve Bank of NZ is obliged to fulfil the purpose laid out in its enabling Act, namely:

"to promote the prosperity & well-being of NZ'ers & contribute to a sustainable & productive economy ... The economic objectives are (a) achieving & maintaining stability in the general level of prices; (b) supporting maximum sustainable employment". This purpose hinges on the word, "economy".

When former Nobel Prize Economics Committee Chair Lars Svensson reviewed the RBNZ in 2001 he wrote, "Sound design of a (monetary policy) committee is essential .. members should be experts in monetary policy, macro-economics or financial markets. Nonexperts would have reduced ability for independent assessment & less capacity to participate in monetary policy discussions & be hostage to the experts. Given the careful wording of the [Bank's] objectives, meeting them is a technical activity that requires technical expertise".

So let's look at who the RBNZ Governor & his Deputy have on their Executive Leadership Team, as well as Monetary Policy Committee, in terms of how their expertise in economics stacks up. The former features:

1. Simone Robbers - Assistant Governor/General Manager Strategy: A Lawyer

2. Juliet Tainui-Hernandez - Assistant Governor/General Manager Transformation: A Lawyer

3. Sarah Owen - Assistant Governor/General Manager Risk & Compliance : A Lawyer

4. Greg Smith - Assistant Governor/General Manager of Finance: An Accountant

5. Nigel Price - Strategic Adviser: An Accountant

6. Karen Silk - Assistant Governor/General Manager of Economics: An Accountant/Marketeer

7. Kate Kolich - Assistant Governor/General Manager Information: A Tech Person

8. John McDermott: Assistant Governor/General Manager Digital Solutions: A Tech Person

The Monetary Policy Committee features the likes of Karen Silk (above), Caroline Saunders who is an Agricultural Economist and Peter Harris who is a Trade Union Economist.

I worked with Lars Svensson for a time at Princeton - maybe we should let him know the extent to which his recommendations were taken up? I'd expect he's given up on the RBNZ, like the Bank's own former Board Chair.


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