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Waikato Diocesan School for Girls Wins Monetary Policy Challenge

posted 28 Jul 2016, 14:36 by Debbie Stevens
Waikato Diocesan School for Girls has been named the national winner of the 2016 Reserve Bank of New Zealand Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Scots College (Wellington) placed second and Macleans College (Auckland) came third.

The MPC expands secondary school economics students' understanding of monetary policy. The competition has been running for 15 years and links to NCEA achievement standards. Just like economists working in the Reserve Bank, each team had to analyse the economic conditions facing New Zealand and consider the outlook for inflation to decide on an appropriate setting for the Official Cash Rate (the interest rate set by the Reserve Bank to meet its inflation target).

Forty-five teams from around New Zealand participated in this year’s challenge- presenting their decisions via video conference last month. The top six teams were then selected to present at the national finals in Wellington.

The national final took place at the Reserve Bank in Wellington on 28 July and was judged by Policy Manager Dean Ford and two Reserve Bank economists, Hayden Skilling and Daan Steenkamp. Deputy Governor Grant Spencer presented the awards at a ceremony this afternoon.

The judges said the teams demonstrated a broad knowledge of monetary policy and factors currently affecting the New Zealand economy, such as dairy prices and housing market activity.

“The Waikato Diocesan School for Girls team of Emma Fountaine, Charlotte McColl, Emma Harris and Nikita Lyons (Amy Spittal was originally in the team but was unable to attend the final as she is currently representing New Zealand at the World Debating Championships in Germany), demonstrated a sound understanding of the key considerations relevant to monetary policy in New Zealand. They showed great teamwork and answered tough questions with confidence and clarity,” Head Judge Dean Ford said.

Waikato Diocesan School for Girls won $2500 in prize money for their school and each team member also wins prizes worth $500. The winning team will be invited back to the Reserve Bank in Wellington to watch the August Monetary Policy Statement media conference with Governor Graeme Wheeler, meet with senior decision-makers, and see first-hand how economic theory is put into practice.

Scots College won $1500 and Macleans College won $750 in prize money for their respective schools. The other national finalists were King's College (Auckland), Auckland Grammar School and Christ’s College Canterbury.

"All of the national finalists had clearly put a lot of time and preparation into their presentations and produced top-level entries,” Mr Ford said. “We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of many teachers who have guided and inspired their students.”

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


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