Reserve Bank chairman says high senior staff turnover ‘unfortunate but normal’

The chairman of the Reserve Bank has expressed confidence in Governor Adrian Orr, amid questions over leadership during a period of high staff turnover.

On Wednesday the Reserve Bank appeared before a Parliamentary select committee where Orr faced a grilling from Opposition finance spokesman Simon Bridges and Act leader David Seymour.

Bridges said of the 12 top staff at the Reserve Bank when Orr arrived, only two remained.

“There’s a saying to lose one’s bad luck, two is careless. This looks reckless.”

Act Party leader David Seymour said there were claims 10 staff in senior tiers out of 25 had left in the past six months, and asked if Orr was confident people were not leaving because of his leadership.

The Reserve Bank flatly denied Seymour’s claims, but later put data on its website that 10 tier two or three staff had left in the past six months or were leaving in the next six months, out of a total of 26 level two or three staff.

Seymour later accused Orr of dancing on the head of a pin. “The most generous interpretation of Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr’s answers at Select Committee this morning was that he (was) disingenuous in his answers about high staff turnover.”

In response to a request for comment from the Herald, Reserve Bank chairman Neil Quigley has now expressed confidence in Orr’s handling of a restructure of the central bank.

“The Reserve Bank is going through a change process designed to provide it with the capability it needs for its current and anticipated future operations.I have complete confidence in the Governor’s leadership of this change process,” Quigley, the vice-chancellor of University of Waikato, said.

“The change is fundamental, and has affected a large number of roles within the Bank. It is therefore not surprising that some staff have chosen to leave the Bank as a result, this being an unfortunate but normal outcome of such processes.”

Quigley said he and deputy chair Tania Simpson had been involved in the interview process for assistant governor roles.

“We are impressed by the quality of the field that the Bank has attracted for these roles, making it clear that the Bank is an attractive place for talented people to work.”

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