NZ bank notes to be 'refreshed'

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 15:47 21/07/2011
Fake $20
MAKEOVER PLANNED: An illustration of what Queen Elizabeth's makeover on the $20 bill might look like.

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New Zealand's bank notes are headed for their first face lift in more than a decade, with Queen Elizabeth's makeover on the $20 bill likely to show an older queen.

The Reserve Bank has officially kicked off a review of New Zealand's bank notes, and says the faces are likely to stay the same while the overall look is refreshed.

Governor Alan Bollard said this afternoon that research carried out in 2010 found New Zealand consumers and businesses were generally happy with the notes, so the key elements would remain the same.

''We will not be making significant changes to the overall theme of the notes themselves,'' Dr Bollard said. ''This includes continuing to use the five respected individuals currently depicted on our notes.''

Dr Bollard specifically noted that the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II would continue to feature on the $20 note, however her portrait may show an older queen.

The bank said the redesign, the first since 1999, was primarily aimed at staying ahead of counterfeiters, despite the rate of counterfeiting in New Zealand being ''very low'' by international standards. The first new notes will be introduced progressively from 2014.

Last year's research showed that most retailers and consumers were happy with the general range of notes in circulation, although head of currency Alan Boaden said that New Zealand would probably have a $5 coin ''eventually''.

When the plan surfaced at the start of the month, a poll on the Stuff website showed late comedian Billy T James the favourite, ahead of military hero Willie Apiata and running legend Jack Lovelock and opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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