The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint



Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.


Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes.

Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a currency redesign yet comprehensively refused to do actually-useful things like finding $30,000 to fund Christchurch’s rape crisis service … and more than a little cynical that the entire exercise was just a frontspiece facade to conceal government engaging in an expansionary monetary policy by literally printing more money and hoping nobody would notice because they’re also taking some physical money out of circulation at the same time.

I’m also something of a fan of the extant colours and arrangement of our present currency.

I genuinely quite *like* the soft-but-solid mostly-monocoloured famous-person-with-bird combinations that we’ve persisted with since 1999.

It doesn’t look like Monopoly money; it’s easily distinguishable from the banknotes of major trading partners; and, while i’m obviously going to be hugely biased about this (due to having grown up with the present designs) … I just find our extant banknotes artfully put together. Compare the delicate etchings in the background of what we’ve got now with the vague fade-to-blueish backgrounds of the new ones, for instance; or have a gander at the Queen on the $20 in your back pocket right now versus the rather … *ahem* well line-defined rendition on the new iteration.

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So why are we changing them then.

Well, according to the Reserve Bank’s own “Brighter Money” website (I must confess, the idea of a currency redesign being sufficiently complex to require its own website with email subscribe is something new to me), we’re doing all this because “the technology for designing and printing banknotes [has] advanced considerably”. Which appears to be technocratic code for “It’s like an iPhone or a fashionable wardrobe … if you’ve got one, it must be upgraded on a regular basis”.

Personally, my initial suspicions as to the reasoning for the change included the idea that the um … Colin-Craig-Electoral-Hoarding-Esque representations of our best and brightest was quite deliberate.

That is to say … the Reserve Bank is *literally trying* to stimulate the economy by forcing us to spend more money through making the contents of our wallets look too horrible for us to hold on to.

Or, alternatively, they’re attempting to do something about our ongoing huge rates of class A and B powdered drug use by rendering our banknotes too dang unclassy to be rolled up and used for insufflation.

Either way, I guess I’m just left eternally thankful that the Reserve Bank didn’t find itself put in charge of redesigning our nation’s flag … and wondering if we perhaps ought to have a referendum on whether we *really* ought to adopt their new designs for our currency.


  1. I believe the main reason given for using new technologies to print new currency is because there are stronger measures against counterfeiting available. When the majority of financial fraud is perpatrated by men in white collars using 1’s and 0’s to rip off the majority of the country I fail to see how this addresses the real problem.

    As for the designs, they’re just another slap-dash attempt to make things look ‘new’ and ‘modern’. I find your Hulk quote amusing.

    You’ve rightly pointed out that the biggest disgrace in all this is that the money spent to make this change could have been put towards real issues like child poverty, domestic violence or any other of the many problems this country actually faces. Whether it’s new flags or new currency the values of the current government seemed to be focussed on the totally wrong areas.

  2. Another terrific National Party idea: in a nation where most us use plastic cards for our day-to-day shopping, spend a whole lot money redesigning banknotes that fewer and fewer people use every year. Next we will be invited to design a new police uniform or colour scheme for police cars. No doubt the MSM and Nationalphiles will see all this as the most important issue of the day. Some of us are wiser and see it for what it is: another attempt to divert attention away from the issues of unaffordable housing, child poverty and worker exploitation. (Wasn’t a new flag enough then?)

  3. I know this is pedantic, but “extant” is not normally used as a synonym for “existing”. It means something more like “existing, against the odds” and so doesn’t quite fit your usage.

  4. The only good thing physical currency is used for these days are black markets.

    National, once again, showing themselves to not only be patently NOT fiscally conservative, all the while maintaining they are, by spending the public’s money on something unnecessary.

    It’s like a double of fiscal fuckery. First, they aren’t into legalizing substances they have no business arresting and detaining people for in the first place, eliminating the black market and the need to pay police to pursue the people involved in these markets. Then, they’re into upgrading the physical currency for no apparent reason. Seemingly ignorant of the fact that if the eliminated the former, they would only need to do the latter at greater intervals.


    • I disagree that the only, “thing physical currency is used for these days are black markets.” I happen to use cash for all kinds of legal things like, paying my bus fare, buying groceries, taxis, coffee, dentists visits.

      Doing so means I only have to pay one ATM fee for a weekly withdrawal and my shopping habits aren’t reviewable by my bank, which as an anti-consumerist I abhor the thought of.

      You’re trying to conflate people who use cash with criminals, this isn’t the case.

      • I don’t really see how using cash instead of a plastic card makes you anti-consumerist but you do throw up an interesting side question: do banks share your statements and transactions with third parties? I would have assumed that they remain confidential without a court order, but who knows for sure?

  5. “government engaging in an expansionary monetary policy by literally printing more money”

    I think you’ll find its mostly commercial banks who do this, but in digital format. Which is what most of our “money” in circulation is, digital.

    But apparently thats not called counterfeiting, its the fractional reserve system in action and its business as usual.

    Now…. how can I set myself up as a bank?

  6. Maybe the new notes also have a “lick in” or “sniff in” spot, to absorb some THC? They look appealing to consumers that may desire such, I would not rule out ulterior motives re the introduction of them.

    As we have already been totally brain washed to the extend, that money is all that matters, I feel this introduction serves a purpose, to make people focus even MORE on MONEY, and none else.

    It is MONEY, perks, profits and benefits, that matter, NONE else, it seems, so the government and Treasury times this well, in a phase of supposed “growth” (for some).

    Be “happy”, enjoy, lick, sniff and eat your “new money” and you will be so exalted and delighted, seems to be the ultimate message.

    Welcome to “new money”, part of the great agenda of “happy capitalism”, while the going is supposed to be “good”.

  7. I always suspect an ulterior motive with this government,why new notes ,if it had John Key on the notes I would understand his need for free advertising ,but like others I don’t think its for the good of the country,unless it is printing money to boost the money in circulation, just useless paper.
    Maybe every note is marked to show who owns it and what they spend it on,like eftpos cards,at present people can buy what they want and nobody checks where the cash comes from.
    Maybe they can check on gamblers who claim they won it when its drug money. To me this is just another spy tool , paranoid or what !

  8. Another thought ,if people don’t trust banks anymore and hide money under the bed it would be possible to know that the new money with maybe special chip to identify it has been taken out of circulation and know its hidden. Many people are buying houses as a way to keep their money from being Haircutted, where if in trouble the banks can take the money from peoples accounts. A report says that only two houses may be purchased ,wether that’s for speculators or general public. it would be a way to stop the money being put into assets instead of in the banks. If I had plenty of money I would buy campa vans ,boats
    etc to keep assets, I definitely wouldn’t leave it in bank to be stolen
    overnight .

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