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Peter Nicholl: Insights from a central banking gun for hire

Between 1997 and 2004, Peter Nicholl was governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; he succeeded in establishing economic stability in a country ravaged by war, but how did a New Zealand central banker get the job in the first place?

Peter Nicholl, while at the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina

As anonymous functionaries, deputy governors of central banks generally do not become household names, nor much recognized by the public they serve.

In his native New Zealand, that is certainly true of Peter Nicholl. Before he re-invented himself as an international central banking gun-for-hire, Nicholl spent 22 years at Wellington’s central Reserve Bank of New Zealand, deputizing for much of that time in the shadow of Donald Brash, the long-time RBNZ governor who became something of a celebrity before failing as a politician.

Indeed, Nicholl’s lack of visibility among his fellow Kiwis was evident last year when he stood for election to his hometown health board in Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island. No matter that Nicholl helped transform the RBNZ into one of the world’s first genuinely independent central banks, delivering the checks and balances and the economic stability that often comes with separation from politicians, voters for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board were unimpressed with Nicholl’s ‘Let my experience work for you’ ticket.

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