We need an effective Public Service

At the NZ Economics Forum on Friday, Oliver Hartwich delivered a frank assessment of central agencies.

He asked why Treasury, the lead economic advisor to the government, is advertising senior economic analysis positions that require “good relationship skills” and “comfort working at pace” but not economics. He notes the Reserve Bank is giving senior appointments to people without relevant skills. Members of the Monetary Policy Committee must have no current or future research in monetary policy to avoid conflicts of interest. Oliver calls this ludicrous.

He asks what Treasury’s Living Standards Framework can do that cost-benefit analysis cannot. He calls the LSF a distraction. He wants rigour.

Oliver also calls out the Chair of the Productivity Commission for almost apologising for his organisation’s mission.

It is not a question of whether the next Global Financial Crisis will occur, says Oliver, but when. To get through the coming storms, our central economic agencies and core institutions must have the intellectual firepower and information they need to respond.

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