New banknotes released

New banknotes released

The Governor-General will release the new $20, $50 and $100 banknotes today in Wellington, but it could be a few weeks before people see one, as the old notes trickle out of distribution.

The new banknotes follow the release of bright new $5 and $10 banknotes already in circulation. The public can use the old or the new banknotes.

At a ceremony at Government House in Wellington this morning, a real-life karearea (New Zealand Falcon) was used to help usher in the new bills.

New banknotes released

(Laura Macdonald / Newshub.)

New $5 and $10 banknotes were progressively released from October 2015.

The new banknotes are brighter, with the note denomination shown in larger print and greater colour contrast between notes. The notes also have more Te Reo Maori on them and more sophisticated security features.

The Reserve Bank says the new notes have better security features and are more technologically advanced.

New banknotes released

 (Laura Macdonald / Newshub.)

The $20, $50 and $100 will be in circulation from May.

They're the same sizes as the current notes and have the same New Zealanders, flora and fauna featured on them.

The old notes will be taken out of circulation as banks return them to the Reserve Bank.

New banknotes released

 (Laura Macdonald / Newshub.)

It will cost an extra $7M-$8M per annum over the five-year release period to issue and distribute the new notes, and replace reserve stocks.

The process is part of the first banknote upgrade since 1999. While New Zealand experiences low rates of counterfeiting, the new notes are designed to keep ahead of technology advances over 15 years.

New banknotes released

 (Laura Macdonald / Newshub.)

The new notes are printed in Canada.

New Zealand switched from paper notes to polymer notes in May 1999.

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