Teams of high school students will present innovative ideas to tackle the New Zealand savings crisis to the top economic minds in the country next Friday.
The ANZ-Massey Economics Challenge will be held on the Albany and Manawatu campuses and in Whangarei at Toll Stadium.
It is the first time the competition, which is in its third year, moves to Northland and it will take place simultaneously in each location.
Teams of three students will be testing their skills, competing in a microeconomics quiz based on the NCEA curriculum, before making a “rocket” pitch on the topic Are Kiwis bad savers? Does it matter?
Judges include top officials from the Treasury, Ministry of Economic Development and ANZ as well as senior lecturers from the University’s School of Economics and Finance.
Dr Brendan Moyle, who is based at the Albany campus and will be overseeing the competition at Whangarei, says savings is an important issue because the country has been borrowing from the rest of the world for decades to fund activity.
“New Zealanders’ savings rate is very low by international standards and what that means is we have to go overseas to borrow money, which increases our foreign debt and makes us more vulnerable to shocks overseas. It influences the size of our trade deficit.
“Last year’s current account deficit amounted to 4.2 per cent of GDP, which is approximately $8.3 billion,” he says. “We want the teams to think about the sorts of problems our savings rate creates.”
The competition aims to encourage a greater interest in economics and establish closer links with schools, the business community and policymakers.
Each student in the winning team will receive $2000 towards full-time study in Massey University’s College of Business in 2012. Runners-up will be awarded a scholarship of $1000.
In Albany, teams taking part are: Albany Senior High School; Auckland International College, KingsWay School, Kristin School, Long Bay College, Macleans College, Northcote College, Rangitoto College, Takapuna Grammar School and Westlake Boys High School.
In Manawatu, teams taking part are: Feilding High School, Palmerston North Boys' High School (three teams) and Spotswood College.
In Whangarei, teams taking part are: Bream Bay College, Kaitaia College, Kamo High School, Kerikeri High School, Pompallier Catholic College and Whangarei Boys' High School.
Judges at the Albany event are: Ministry of Economic Development economic strategy chief adviser Philip Stevens, Department of Labour principal researcher Jason Timmins, ANZ regional general manager Craig Moffat and Professor David Ding, Associate Head of Massey University’s School of Economics and Finance.
At Manawatu, the judges are ANZ regional general manager Lynne Sutherland, Treasury principal adviser Grant Scobie, Treasury senior analyst Katherine Meerman and senior Dr Rukmani Gounder and lecturer Dr Sam Richardson from the University’s School of Economics and Finance.
At Whangarei, the judges are Whangarei District Council economic development manager Peter Gleeson, ANZ managing director retail Kerri Thompson, Otago University senior lecturer Chris Hajzler and senior lecturers Dr Otto Reich and Dr Brendan Moyle.
There will be an “After 5” function in Whangarei, which will be attended by the deputy mayor of Whangarei Phil Halse, as well as school, University and ANZ representatives and members of the business community.
Photo caption: Last year’s winners in the Manawatu competition were Spotswood College students Jacob Burton, Harry Graham and Hamish Crimp. They are pictured with ANZ regional manager Bernie Dekker, Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor and Associate Professor Rukmani Gounder.