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November 18, 2005

New Zealand considers "telebanking"

New Zealand really does seem to be taking H5N1 seriously. Now the country's reserve bank governor is disclosing the bank's plans for a "Code Red" scenario.

This would include cutting interest rates by one or two percent to keep the economy going. The bank would also operate in part over the Internet:

Under the worst-case scenario of a full scale pandemic, the central bank would send staff home and key functions would be conducted remotely.

The bank has already begun enacting plans to increase the amount of money in its vaults, to counter panic hoarding.

eputy governor, Adrian Orr, said that New Zealand households are vulnerable because of high debt levels, while the country's current account deficit "was running at an unsustainable 8 percent of GDP." Even if H5N1 could be kept out of New Zealand, the economic impact would be severe.

And since not every bank employee could work from home, "The Reserve Bank is issuing staff with face masks, gloves, tissues, handwash liquid and paracetamol."

Posted by dymaxion at November 18, 2005 01:17 PM

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