While there are, typically, many more important aspects of public policy, in this blog I am going to talk quite a lot about matters that touch on the role and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. It is a significant part of what I know, and have thought about over the decades.
Having been purged by Graeme Wheeler, I no longer work for the Reserve Bank. That leaves me free to comment. But I am conscious of the risk that any comments could be seen through a lens of “embittered ex-employee”, so this brief post is context and invitation.
Over several years I had voiced to many people a growing desire to spend a lot more time with our growing children. I’d always been grateful that my mother was mostly around when I was growing up, and I wanted to do the same for my kids. A wonderful long-term nanny just isn’t the same. Making the change became financially feasible late last year and so my plan had been to leave the Bank anyway. I’ve never been a person to carry grudges and, in any case, now feel only a sense of liberation and opportunity. Emotion often clouds analysis, and impairs the ability to clearly identify what is going on.
Sometimes I’ll be critical of the Reserve Bank, and of choices governments (through Parliament) have made about the Reserve Bank. (At other times, I expect I’ll stick up for them). And I will, for example, be using the provisions and presumptions of the Official Information Act to seek to improve (and argue for improving) the openness and transparency of the Bank. But in almost all cases I can think of right now, I expect to be saying many of the same things I was saying within the Bank. Free and frank internal debate and advice are critical to the successful long-term functioning of public (or private?) institutions – indeed the Official Information Act explicitly recognises that. External challenge and robust scrutiny of powerful public institutions is equally, or perhaps more, important.
My aim is to highlight issues, and provide alternative ways of thinking about some things. It is about issues and institutions that matter to New Zealand, and about good quality detached analysis and argument. If you think that I’m losing perspective at any point, do let me know – either comment or email me (mhreddell at gmail.com).