Delta derailed 2021, here’s hoping for a better 2022

2021 was not the year anyone expected and was largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Vaccines – using technology that has been developed over the past few decades – were rolled out, but misinformation and distrust undermined vaccination efforts globally.  The emergence of the more contagious Delta variant changed the COVID-19 landscape.  Many countries which had successfully maintained an elimination strategy while waiting for vaccine production to ramp up, including NZ, were forced to change tack once the virus eventually evaded tightly-controlled international borders.  Supply chain shortages became even worse over the past year as international shipping struggled to cope with demand.  As a result, inflation reared its ugly head, adding another twist for policy makers to contend with. But in NZ – despite the Delta outbreak and the awful 100+ day lockdown Auckland endured – we are ending the year on a somewhat positive note.  Like Australia, NZ saw pleasingly-strong vaccine take-up.  As a result of high vaccination rates, COVID-19 case numbers are falling in Auckland despite an easing in restrictions.  Vaccination remains the way for our economy to move to a ‘new’ normal and avoid lockdowns.  Many New Zealanders socialise outdoors through summer, and this should also keep the virus somewhat manageable for the next few months.

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Jane Turner

Senior Economist

Originally hailing from sunny Nelson, Jane moved to Auckland to join the ASB team in 2008.  As Senior Economist, Jane's main focus is co-ordinating the team’s macro-economic forecasts.  In this key role, Jane was thrilled by the team’s twice consecutive win of the Consensus Economics Forecast Accuracy award.   

During her decade-long career in economic forecasting, Jane has gained a thorough knowledge of the New Zealand economy.  Her current focus is on New Zealand GDP growth, including both manufacturing and the construction sectors.  She has spent time forecasting most sectors of the economy, including inflation, trade, housing, labour and financial markets.

Prior to joining ASB, Jane honed her macro-economic forecasting skills at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.  Jane is a qualified scarfie, attending Otago University and graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics with 1st class honours.  In 2014, she took a career break from ASB to travel the world and learn to snowboard.

Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.

Mike Jones

Senior Economist

Mike joined ASB in 2019 armed with almost 15 years of experience in applied macroeconomic and financial markets analysis.

Mike's career has been all about distilling the risks and opportunities of economic and financial market trends for business. Basically asking the "what does it all mean" question. Mike's enthusiasm and skill for drawing out practical, commercial insights from the murky world of economics has been honed over a relatively broad base of experience.

After spending the early part of his career on the tools at the Reserve Banks of both NZ and Australia, Mike had a lengthy stint at BNZ where he was NZ’s top-ranked currency strategist. His regular and topical macro research also saw him pick up several FX forecast accuracy gongs from Bloomberg.

Drawn in by the prospect of putting strategy into practice, Mike moved from Wellington to Auckland in 2013 to join Fonterra as GM Treasury Risk Management. In this role, Mike lead Fonterra’s macroeconomic research output, and was responsible for the strategy and execution of Fonterra’s foreign exchange, debt, and interest rate hedging programmes.