Queen here to stay on NZ banknotes

The Queen will remain on New Zealand banknotes despite 24% of people in a recent survey saying they were unhappy with her presence.

Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard today announced there would be no significant changes to all five banknote designs as part of an upgrade to improve their quality and make them harder to forge.

The new notes, to be progressively released from 2014, would continue to include the prominent figures, landscapes and New Zealand birds featured on the existing notes.

That means the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the $20 note is here to stay - despite a Nielsen Reserve Bank survey released today that found her image was the most disliked part of the design.

The survery found 241 of the 1000 people surveyed did not like the Queen as a symbol. Of those, 41% disliked it a lot.

Reasons given included dislike of the Queen as a symbol and dislike of the way she was depicted, with one respondent saying: "I'm happy for the Queen to be on the note but the photo needs updating".

The survey found 9 percent of consumers wanted the Queen to be removed or replaced on the design.

Overall, the survey found that 20% of the consumers that responded to the survey supported the image of the Queen, 56% expressed no opinion and 24% did not like the Queen being a symbol on the $20 note. 

Dr Bollard today confirmed a more recent, aged image of the Queen could be used on the upgraded notes -- but she was here to stay.

Reserve Bank head of currency Alan Boaden said the five people represented on the current notes -- four of them prominent New Zealanders -- were all chosen because they were highly respected.

"That is still the case and they're still all highly respected, highly regraded people, so that is why we have no plans to change any of people on the notes," he said.

The Nielsen survey found the public was generally satisfied with the colours, design and themes of the current notes.

They were also happy with the range of notes available -- $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

The survey found most people were happy with the condition of the notes in circulation, with the exception of $5 notes, which were least frequently returned to the Reserve Bank and therefore less likely to be taken out of circulation.

Dr Bollard said the new notes would benefit from technical advances in banknote security since the notes were last updated 12 years ago. The upgrade would also improve the quality of the notes, including the $5 note.

Upgrades were carried out a regular basis to help maintain New Zealand's low counterfeiting levels.

The new notes would be phased in and used alongside the existing notes for a short period once they were released.

 

 

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