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The modernisation of New Zealand’s currency and cash distribution

Alan Boaden

This article discusses the various changes to the currency and cash distribution procedures that have occurred in recent years, together with the more recent decisions to modernise the ‘silver’ coins. Polymer notes, which were introduced in 1999, are found to have proven very durable and cost-effective compared with the older paper notes. The Reserve Bank’s move to become a wholesale supplier of currency (ie no longer participating in the daily distribution of cash to the registered banks) has significantly reduced costs in this area. The article explains the recent decision to opt for smaller and lighter ‘silver’ coins and to withdraw the 5 cent coin from circulation, noting that the new coins are expected to bring significant benefits for the public.