Otago Boys' High School pupils (from left) Benjamin
Wardhaugh, Patrick Sinclair and Andrew Kennedy (all 17) on
the steps of Parliament, following their success at the New
Zealand Treasury Schools' Challenge in Wellington. Photo
The answers to some of the nation's future financial
dilemmas may rest in the hands of pupils from southern
There was an imbalance in the results churned out at the
final of the New Zealand Treasury Schools' Challenge this
year, when James Hargest College (Invercargill) won the
competition and Otago Boys' High School came third equal.
The challenge gives New Zealand senior secondary school
pupils the chance to put themselves in the shoes of a
Treasury analyst by researching and recommending policies to
raise living standards.
The competition aims to stimulate discussion and fresh debate
on the Treasury's core work; give pupils an opportunity to
apply economic principles to real-world policy making; and
encourage pupils to take an interest in economics and public
policy as a career option.
This year, schools were asked to prepare a briefing to the
incoming finance minister on the issues facing the New
Zealand economy and policies to address them.
The first stage of the competition was to write a 2000-word
fully referenced essay, and the top 10 teams were invited to
attend the final in Wellington, to present their policy ideas
to a judging panel of two Treasury analysts and two Victoria
For Otago Boys' High School, it was the third year in a row
the school had reached the national final.
Members of the 2014 Otago Boys' team, Benjamin Wardhaugh,
Patrick Sinclair and Andrew Kennedy, were delighted with the
''We were pretty stoked when we found out,'' Benjamin said.
''We've put in a lot of hard work, so it was good to get
rewarded with a placing.''
The boys focused on the issue of inequality and the failure
of conventional ''trickle-down economic theory'' to address
They decided to tackle the issues at the root of the problem
- income inequality - with the notion that reducing income
inequality improves social cohesion and social mobility,
which leads to more equitable life outcomes.
They suggested changing the progressive income tax system and
overhauling the family tax credit system, to include families
that are beneficiaries.
The tax credit policy was especially focused on reducing the
negative impact of child poverty on inclusion, social
mobility and life outcomes.
Recognising that businesses also needed support to promote
investment and create employment opportunities, the boys also
proposed the reintroduction of a research and development tax
Results: James Hargest College (1); Christchurch Girls' High
School (2); Otago Boys' High School and New Plymouth Girls'
High School (3=).firstname.lastname@example.org