The New Zealand Government in 1964, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sir Keith Holyoake, announced that the country of New Zealand would make the switch to decimal currency on the 10th of July 1967.3
Prior to this date, the banknotes issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand were redeemable in silver at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand itself at its location in Wellington, which in the case of a one pound Reserve Bank of New Zealand banknote, was the central bank’s promise to redeem one pound of sterling silver upon the banknote’s presentation.
Though once the designs of New Zealand’s decimal banknotes were completed, so was the intrinsic backing behind New Zealand’s banknotes further removed,4 with these banknotes’ tangible backing of gold and silver being replaced with the tangible commodity of the New Zealand taxpayer instead.
Dubbed “Operation Overlander” due to the number of New Zealand soldiers and New Zealand Police officers present throughout the introduction of these new banknotes, the majority of New Zealand’s money is now represented electronically, without the involvement of either the New Zealand Army or the New Zealand Police. And the purchasing power of New Zealand’s decimal currency, in relation to its year of introduction, is now less than one-tenth of what it used to be, in comparison with its year of origin5 (1967).
The current medium used for money within New Zealand, with the exception of steel coins and electronic banknotes and coins, are blank sheets of polymer plastic that have been printed by a simultan printing press at Note Printing Australia.6 Moreover, for a brand new $100 New Zealand banknote to be produced (printed), as opposed to production of a brand new $5 New Zealand banknote, due to the different colours, images and value that appear on the $100 New Zealand banknote, the printing plates and ink colours on the printing press have to be changed.
And as $100 New Zealand banknotes are printed four across and seven down a sheet, a simultan printing press at Note Printing Australia (printing 8,000 sheets of polymer plastic paper per hour) can produce a total of $22,400,000 dollars worth of New Zealand’s currency, for every sixty minutes of printing ((28 *100) * 8000 = $22,400,000). These sheets of now printed polymer plastic, are then guillotined into individual banknotes, and then forwarded by Note Printing Australia to New Zealand’s sole issuer of banknotes and coins7 (the Reserve Bank of New Zealand / New Zealand’s lender of last resort8).