New Zealand's first polymer bank notes go into circulation today.
Other denominations will be issued in polymer during the remainder of 1999 and into the beginning of 2000. The next polymer notes to be issued will be the $10 and $100 notes in late June or early July, followed by the $5 note in October. The polymer $50 note will be issued early next year.
Reserve Bank Currency Department Chief Manager Brian Lang said today: "Polymer $20 notes are legal tender as of this morning. People should start seeing them this week, especially in money withdrawn from ATMs and banks.
"When people see these new notes they will want to know that they are seeing the real thing. Polymer notes do not have a silver thread, but do have two transparent windows which makes these notes much harder to forge. The notes also carry a shadow image of the Queen, which is similar to the watermark on the paper notes. The size and design is much the same as before, but the colours are brighter, and some fonts have been modernised.
"Paper $20 notes will remain legal tender but will gradually be withdrawn from circulation. By this time next year I would expect most of bank notes in circulation to be made of polymer," Mr Lang concluded.
The Reserve Bank has published a free pamphlet entitled The New Polymer Bank Notes, which shows the enhanced security features of polymer bank notes. Copies of the brochure can be obtained from the Reserve Bank by telephoning (04) 471 3660 or from the Bank's website at www.rbnz.govt.nz.
Collectors' $20 presentation packs of uncut pairs are available for sale from the Reserve Bank by telephoning 0800 426 467.
For further information contact:
Phone 04 471 3767, pager 026 103 787