Polymer $5 and $10 bank notes are being released into circulation from today.
These bank notes are the third and fourth denominations to be released in polymer by the Reserve Bank. The first polymer bank note to be released in New Zealand was the $20 note in May this year, followed by the $100 note, which has been circulating since July. The Reserve Bank expects to release polymer $50 bank notes early next year.
Reserve Bank Currency Department Chief Manager Brian Lang said today: "Polymer $5 and $10 notes are legal tender as of this morning.
"Like the other polymer bank notes, the size and essential design of these notes has not changed. Sir Edmund Hillary still features prominently on the $5 note, as does Kate Sheppard on the $10 note. Probably the only things people will notice, apart from the distinctive feel of the notes, are that the colours are brighter and the font is more modern.
"The biggest benefit of changing these notes to polymer is that they will stay cleaner and will be much less tatty than the paper ones. $5 and $10 notes are used so constantly that the paper ones fall apart quickly. This doesn't happen with polymer. As well as being better to handle, they also save the taxpayer money, as they last much longer and don't need to be replaced as often.
"Another major benefit of polymer is that it should put some counterfeiters out of business. There has been a rash of forged paper $10 notes appearing up north over recent months, and that's obviously due to counterfeiters wanting to get rid of their stocks before the polymer notes arrive. The enhanced security features of polymer make it very hard for counterfeiters to make a living. I am sure that people who have been ripped off by these fraudsters will appreciate that.
"Some people have been concerned that the image of the Queen might disappear from New Zealand's bank notes. This is certainly not the case, as Her Majesty still appears as a watermark on each of the polymer bank notes. There are no plans to redesign any of the current series of circulating bank notes," Mr Lang concluded.
There is a brochure available free from the Reserve Bank, entitled The New Polymer Bank Notes, which explains the security features of polymer notes. Copies can be obtained from the Reserve Bank by telephoning (04) 471 3660 or from the Bank's website at www.rbnz.govt.nz.
For further information contact:
Phone 04 471 3767, pager 026 103 787