New Zealand's Reserve Bank is keeping a very close eye on developments in Australia where the companies that make our bank notes are under investigation over allegations of bribing third world officials in order to win their business.

The comment from Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard that he is monitoring the situation comes as the central bank announced it will begin releasing new bank notes from 2014 after an upgrade to enhance security features and durability, while modernising the design of the notes.

The material currently used to make New Zealand's notes is made by Securency, which is half owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The notes are then made by Note Printing Australia, which is 100 per cent owned by the RBA.

Earlier this month, Australian Federal Police arrested six former executives of Securency and Note Printing Australia, including their former CEOs in the biggest bribery scandal in Australian history.


New NZ notes on the way

Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard launched the project to upgrade New Zealand's bank notes today, which would update all five notes currently used – $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes.

Famous faces on the notes would not be changed, Bollard said.

The Reserve Bank commissioned Nielsen in 2010 to survey the public on their perceptions of the notes, finding they were generally satisfied with the colours, design and themes of the existing notes, and were happy with the range of notes.

"However we are planning to modernise the designs as modern printing techniques will allow us to give the notes a new look," Bollard said.

Central banks around the world generally upgraded their bank notes every 10 to 15 years, Bollard told a media conference. Upgrades were implemented to stay ahead of counterfeiters.

"This upgrade will ensure our bank notes benefit from the technical advances that have been introduced in bank note security over the last 12 years," Bollard said.

New notes would be progressively introduced from 2014 at the earliest and co-circulated with existing notes, Bollard said.