21 Jun 2022

Reserve Bank rejects criticism of NZ Post chair's board appointment

3:56 pm on 21 June 2022

The Reserve Bank says it has taken steps to manage any conflicts of interest involving a soon-to-be board member who is also involved with Kiwibank.

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Rodger Finlay has a lot of governance experience, the Reserve Bank chair says. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Rodger Finlay, chairperson of NZ Post - which has a majority stake in Kiwibank - will join the central bank's board from 1 July.

He has also been doing consulting and advisory work with the RBNZ ahead of a new governance structure for the Reserve Bank.

Former RBNZ senior official Michael Reddell​ said Finlay's appointment by the finance minister was inappropriate.

"It is an outrageous appointment," he said in a recent blog post.

"It is bad form and - whatever the possible merits of Mr Finlay personally - it sets a dreadful precedent and [is] outrageous."

It was unthinkable that a person from a bank supervised by the RBNZ should be considered or allowed to be involved with the central bank and he should quit one of the roles, Reddell said.

University of Waikato Vice Chancellor Neil Quigley.

Neil Quigley Photo: RNZ / Joanne O'Brien

But Reserve Bank chairperson Neil Quigley said it was aware of potential conflicts from the start of Finlay becoming involved and was satisfied they could be managed.

"The interest has been noted in the [Reserve] Bank's interest register, and carefully considered in light of the requirements of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021. We are satisfied his interest can be managed appropriately and does not disqualify him to be a member."

Finlay had been developing new governance and policy systems which the new RBNZ board could consider when it assumed greater powers and responsibilities from 1 July, he said.

"Mr Finlay's deep governance experience has been invaluable in that context and will continue to be as a member of the board."

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, who appointed Finlay on advice from the RBNZ, mirrored its comment.

"Mr Finlay's appointment to the Transition Board has been considered by the Reserve Bank ... and [it] found that any potential conflict of interest could be managed."

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