Two academics and one economist will join four internal members on the Reserve Bank’s newly minted independent decision-making body, said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The new structure emerged after phase one of a review of the Reserve Bank Act to modernise the policy frameworks, governance, and accountability arrangements announced by the Labour-led government shortly after taking office. The new committee – which will begin operating April 1 – removes sole interest rate decision-making by the governor. 

“The MPC follows international evidence on the benefits of committee decision-making structures, and brings New Zealand into line with international best-practice,” said Robertson. 

According to the finance minister, committee members have a wide range of experience, covering monetary policy, agribusiness, international trade, private business and labour market issues. 

Its first scheduled monetary policy decision will be the official cash rate decision and monetary policy statement on May 8. 

The three external members include Caroline Saunders, currently professor of International Trade and the Environment and director, Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit, at Lincoln University. She is also a director on the board of Landcare Research NZ, and sits on the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee. She has been appointed for a four-year term.

Bob Buckle is a professor emeritus at Victoria University of Wellington and was pro Vice-Chancellor and dean of the Victoria Business School from 2008 to 2017. He has been appointed for three years.

Peter Harris is an economist with extensive experience in the trade union movement, including a decade as Council of Trade Unions economist. He is currently an economic consultant. He has been a member of the Electricity Commission and an associate member of the Commerce Commission.  He has been appointed for a three-year term.

They join governor Adrian Orr, who will chair the committee, deputy governor Geoff Bascand, Christian Hawkesby, assistant governor and general manager of economics, financial markets and banking and Yuong Ha, manager for international and market analysis at the reserve bank. 

Orr and Bascand will remain members of the committee until the conclusion of their terms. Hawkesby has been appointed for a five-year term while Ha has been appointed for a one-year term to ensure the committee is fully resourced whilst the role of chief economist at the Reserve Bank is vacant.

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