The Reserve Bank announced today that Saint Kentigern College from Auckland is the national winner of the Reserve Bank 2011 Monetary Policy Challenge (MPC). Waikato Diocesan School for Girls from Hamilton was placed second and Havelock North High School came third.
The national final took place at the Reserve Bank in Wellington yesterday and was hotly contested. The judges were Assistant Governor John McDermott and two Bank economists, Rebecca Craigie and Tony Wolken.
Saint Kentigern College won $2,500 in prize money for their school and will visit the Reserve Bank on 15 September to watch the announcement of the next Monetary Policy Statement by Governor Alan Bollard.
Waikato Diocesan School for Girls won $1,500 and Havelock North High School won $750 in prize money for their respective schools. The other competitors in the national final were Epsom Girls’ Grammar School (Auckland), Papanui High School (Christchurch) and James Hargest College (Invercargill).
The judges said the finalists performed to a very high standard, and determining the winning school was a difficult task. They were particularly impressed with the depth of economic understanding shown by Saint Kentigern College.
“Saint Kentigern College were a very polished team, who answered many difficult questions with great composure. They clearly demonstrated their understanding of economic relationships,” said the judges.
The MPC is designed to expand senior secondary school economics students' understanding of monetary policy, and it links to NCEA achievement standards.
Just like economists working in the Reserve Bank, each team analyses the economic conditions facing New Zealand and the outlook for inflation. On the basis of that analysis, they decide on an appropriate setting for the Official Cash Rate (the Reserve Bank’s interest rate). Each team provides the reasons for their decision in a written submission and, if selected as a regional or national finalist, an oral presentation.
"Rather than just expecting students to learn established facts, this competition confronts them with the challenges, ambiguity and uncertainty of actual decision-making,” Dr McDermott said.
The MPC is open to all New Zealand secondary school economics students and runs annually from May to August.