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The Reserve Bank (RBNZ) announced today that they are ‘protecting cash’ and ‘protecting the economy’ — they revealed “a new role of steward of the cash system to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them.”
RBNZ Assistant Governor Christian Hawksby says that cash is being used less as a means of payment, but access to cash is declining, but that doesn’t give any reason for going cashless.
“However, cash provides important benefits to many people, including legal tender money, social and financial inclusion, peer-to-peer payments, backup payments, and privacy and autonomy,” said RBNZ Assistant Governor.
“We encourage every banking sector participant to consider their role in supporting the needs of their customers, including those who depend on cash for their everyday needs.”
The Reserve Bank has recently established a ‘Future of Cash Office’ and is working within the industry and local communities on the future of money and the economy.
“We welcome the RBNZ moving decisively, after listening and engaging with the community, to protect cash,” said Sandra Smith from the ATMIA (Asia Pacific)
“The New Zealand cash economy is strong, safe, reliable and surcharge-free. New Zealanders love cash and flocked back to using cash after the lockdown period finished.”
“The Australian government and the RBA need to move, like New Zealand, to support the right of the elderly, diverse communities, regional centres, remote towns, everyone, to access and use cash,” said Sandra Smith.
Terry Hemingson, a speaker at a recent Grey Power event in Levin, had his say on the Banks in regards to the new systems in place because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Horowhenua Grey power called out banks for not respecting the elderly when COVID-19 was a large ‘fear campaign’ — it forced elderly to withdraw cash at ATMs because cash till operators refused to do it for them.
“The banks are saying, and you have to do it electronically. The Peoples Bank, Kiwi Bank; which is controlled by Grant Robertson and others are saying you can’t write a check anymore,” says Hemmingson.
Horowhenua Grey Power has called for all New Zealand Banks and local Banks to respect the elderly who are having trouble withdrawing and depositing money at their local banks.
This happened after some in the audience expressed their experiences when the cash till operator staff told them to use the ATM instead of coming in due to COVID-19.
“We are not saying stop the change, we are saying slow the change so that we can come on board,” says Hemmingson.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), RBNZ, New Zealand and Australian health authorities, the Royal Australian Mint and the RBA have all confirmed that cash is ‘not a virus risk’ meaning that if health advice is followed, for example washing hands, hand sanitising, distancing and masking — there’s no need to get rid of it.
“Don’t mix payments and cash with food handling and eating,” said Sandra Smith.
The Reserve Bank has something to say to WHO, that however you pay, by using good hand hygiene and sanitising, cash can still thrive in the economy and it shouldn’t be politically abused over a virus.
“Cash withdrawn from an ATM is clean and can be trusted and used with confidence,” said Sandra Smith.