Magazine article New Zealand Management

SAVVY : Bookcase - Innovation & Independence - the Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1973 - 2002

Magazine article New Zealand Management

SAVVY : Bookcase - Innovation & Independence - the Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1973 - 2002

Article excerpt

Byline: Reg Birchfield

* John Singleton with Arthur Grimes, Garry Hawke and Frank Holmes

* Auckland University Press

* $49.99

There is a daunting physicality to this book that will frighten off most business leaders who should indeed tackle it. And yes, it is at times heavy going, but not half as heavy as it feels.

Central banks like our Reserve Bank are, indeed, central to our lives. Mostly we are unaware or disinterested in just how central they can be - at least until inflation or exchange rate fluctuations kick in. But take a look at extreme examples of how politics and abused central banking manipulation can run amok, such as Zimbabwe, and you get the picture.

New Zealand, of course, had its own less extreme but nevertheless crippling example of the impact of political pig-headedness versus considered central bank management. We called it Muldoonism, back in the late 1970s and early '80s. And this book provides documented and researched revelation, explanation and evaluation of just why we ended up with a markedly better central bank and more constructive supporting legislation now than we had then.

It took something approaching an economic and social catastrophe to change the way New Zealanders thought about the economy. Now, with almost 20 years of sensible management of monetary policy under our belt, it is time to remember why things are the way they are. …

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