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Reserve Bank Governor Washes His Own Socks

In response to a request under the Official Information Act arising from public interest in expenditure by the heads of Crown entities, the Reserve Bank today released details of Governor Don Brash’s travel and entertainment expenses for the past two years.

In the year to 30 June 1999, Dr Brash’s travel and entertainment expenses were $58,475. In the previous year, to 30 June 1998, these expenses totalled $43,833. These totals include all airfares, rental cars, petrol, taxis and parking, accommodation, other travel expenses, meals, and entertainment.

Chairman of the Non- Executive Directors Committee of the Reserve Bank Board, Mr Bill Wilson, said today: "It is one of the Board’s functions to closely monitor all Bank spending to make sure taxpayers are being well served by the operations of the Reserve Bank. We are confident that they are. Dr Brash’s own travel and entertainment expenses are regularly submitted for scrutiny to the Chair of the Board’s Audit Committee, who is a non- executive director.

“It is crucial for the ongoing health of the New Zealand economy that Dr Brash travels to the extent he does, to keep abreast of international economic and financial developments and to meet with major foreign investors with an interest in New Zealand. Dr Brash is one of New Zealand’s foremost ambassadors, and the confidence he engenders in world financial markets is of material benefit to the New Zealand economy.

"Dr Brash’s role also demands that he spends a great deal of time explaining to New Zealanders what the Reserve Bank does and assessing how monetary policy is affecting the economy. For this reason, it is very important that Dr Brash travels widely within New Zealand, to receive feedback from New Zealanders and to assess the impact of monetary policy on our towns and cities. In the last two years, Dr Brash made 88 speeches throughout New Zealand addressing an estimated 14,000 people. In addition, he addressed another 5,000 people across a very wide range of sectors on a Roadshow he undertook late last year, in 23 locations from Whangarei to Invercargill.

"Unlike many central bank chiefs, Dr Brash travels without an entourage. On all of his overseas trips and most of his New Zealand ones, he travels entirely without the aid of staff. Furthermore, as a matter of policy he flies economy class within New Zealand and Australia and business class internationally.

In line with a Bank policy he instigated, he routinely washes his own clothes when travelling to avoid incurring the expense of using laundry services. Dr Brash is always very mindful of his accountability to the New Zealand taxpayer," Mr Wilson said.


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