Security upgrade with new holographic element adds to $80m cost of redesign for $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100

New banknotes set to be released late next year will cost around $80 million.

Yesterday the Reserve Bank unveiled the newly designed $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 banknotes, a project that has been in the pipeline for three years. This is the first makeover for 15 years, with the last in 1999 when the notes were switched from paper to plastic.

The new design will feature the same well-known flora, fauna and people that appear on the current notes, but will be set against brighter and bolder colours.

They will also be full of sophisticated security features to prevent counterfeiting. These features included a new holographic element and larger transparent windows than those in the current design. This would all cost about $80 million.


The new notes were "the forefront of banknote technology", Reserve Bank Deputy-Governor Geoff Bascand said.

Mr Bascand said although counterfeit rates were low in New Zealand compared with the rest of the world, technology changes were making counterfeiting easier.

"When counterfeiting does occur it is a serious issue and costs a significant amount of money to address, so you want to stay ahead of it."

He said not withstanding the talk about a cashless society, New Zealand was still seeing an increased demand every year for cash.

The new design was welcomed by Retail New Zealand, and it said the new banknotes would keep the country in line with the latest anti-fraud technology.

Cash remained an important means of making payments, especially for low-value purchases, chief executive Mark Johnston said.

The $5 and $10 notes would come into circulation from next October. The release of the $20, $50 and $100 notes would follow in April 2016.

"The final security features still have to be validated and incorporated into the notes in the final printing form so there are still some trial processes to do that," Mr Bascand said.


The current and new notes will be circulated together as legal tender, and the Reserve Bank expected it would take 12 to 18 months for most of the notes in circulation to be new.

The notes were designed by the Canadian Bank Note Company and would be printed at the company's plant in Ottawa.


When will the new notes start circulating?

The new notes will be released progressively by denomination. The target release date for the $5 and $10 note is October 15. The $20, $50 and $100 note are likely to be released in April 2016. The Reserve Bank expects it will take 12 to 18 months for the majority of notes in circulation to be new.

Can I still use my old currency when the new notes come in?
Existing notes will remain in use after the new notes are introduced, and both the existing notes and the new notes will be legal tender.

Who designed the new notes? Where will they be printed?
The Canadian Bank Note Company won a design and print tender run by the Reserve Bank. They designed the new note and will print them at their plant in Ottawa.