If you’ve been on Twitter this morning, you’ve probably come across people questioning what will happen to New Zealand money now that Queen Elizabeth II has died. There are even rumours circulating that our cash will cease to be legal tender.
First thing first: that’s not true.
A spokesperson for the Reserve Bank announced that a change of sovereign would make no difference to the coins and $20 banknote in regards to their legal tender status. They can still be used and must be accepted as legal tender.
As such, cash featuring Queen Elizabeth II will not be removed from circulation and will, in fact, be in use for some time to come. In 2021, there was $1.28 billion in $20 notes circulating. If you do your math, that works out to be around 64 million notes—so no, they’re not going to be pulled out of circulation.
Furthermore, New Zealand banknotes are printed in Canada and large orders are only placed every two years (or earlier if need be). The RBNZ spokesperson said, “We would naturally take steps to be ready to mint with the new effigy when available.” However when our mints start production of NZ [currency] would relate less to a change of sovereign than to our current stock levels reaching the point that they’re needed and then scheduling that with our mints.”
What will be the difference with the new $20 banknote and coins?
Tradition states that the head of the monarch on coins will now face the other direction, which in our case will now be left. Nonetheless, the RBNZ has said it will follow protocols set out by Buckingham Palace and, as such, will not be confirmed until the design is approved.
This includes all of our bank coins as well. So, there’s no need to worry about losing your hard-earned cash (that is if you have any on you) because they’ll still be legal tender. You might even want to keep a few since, who knows, they might be worth something one day long into the future.
Did you know…?
Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on money more than any other person in history with her face appearing on coins in 35 countries.