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Monetary Policy Reviewer Appointed

Professor Lars Svensson of Sweden will conduct the Government's promised review into the operation of monetary policy, Finance Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

"Professor Svensson is one of the world's leading authorities on monetary policy and monetary economics and chairs the selection committee for the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

"He is Professor of International Economics at Stockholm University. He is also active as an advisor to Sveriges Riksbank [Bank of Sweden] and regularly consults for agencies in the United States, Sweden and around the world.

"His credentials for the review, which will be largely technical in nature, are impeccable," Dr Cullen said. "He has some direct familarity with New Zealand, having come to Victoria University in 1997 as a Visiting Professorial Fellow in Monetary Economics."

The contract would cost $US50,000. Professor Svensson's accommodation, travel and other expenses would be additional to that.

Professor Svensson would be available from 6 November and had undertaken to complete the review by the end of February, next year. He would split his time between New Zealand and Sweden.

"The terms of the review are strictly limited. The Government is strongly committed to maintaining the independence of the Bank and to Section Eight of the Reserve Bank Act defining the maintenance of price stability as "the primary function of the Bank."

"The purpose of the review is to investigate ways of enhancing the Bank's ability to implement the Policy Targets Agreement without unnecessary volatility to the economy, employment, interest rates and the exchange rate," Dr Cullen said.

ends

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