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Coin change proving to be a big nuisance

Media Release

Newmarket Business Association

Sunday 6 August 2006

Coin change proving to be a big nuisance

“The five-cent phase out is not serving any purpose other than leaving a sour taste in many people’s mouths and causing unnecessary work for retailers,” said Cameron Brewer, head of Auckland’s leading shopping district, Newmarket.

Tomorrow marks a week into the Reserve Bank’s three month transition period, when both the old and new coins can be used. From 1 November 2006, the old 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent coins will no longer be legal tender.

“What we have seen so far is plenty of confusion, with shop assistants often having to bare the brunt of it. Some consumers aren’t enjoying the principal of being told the cash price is say $9.90 but then paying by EFTPOS and being electronically charged the non-rounded figure of $9.95.

“The shopping experience will be even further soured after the first of November. Those pulling out their old silver will be told it’s worthless. That will be hard on the likes of the elderly. However these negative experiences won’t reflect on the Reserve Bank. They’ll reflect on the individual retailers.

“Retail is hard enough this winter without this unnecessary drama. Not only is it souring some shoppers but its causing retailers more work. Some banks are asking retailers when they do their banking to split their old and new coins up, to speed up the process of getting the old coins out of circulation. Retailers have got enough to worry about this winter.

“The replacement of our silver coins and the phase-out of the five cent coin is completely unnecessary and premature, costing the likes of vending machine operators a lot of money to refit their machines

“Australia still has its five cent. The United States still has its one cent and the five cent Nickel, and the United Kingdom still has its penny. The phasing-out of these countries’ lowest denominations is not even on their radar. However in New Zealand we’ve been only too happy to jump the gun without rhyme or reason.

“It’s been a nice little project for some bureaucrats in Wellington but at the shop counter it’s simply proving to be another unnecessary compliance cost that’s only adding angst,” said Mr Brewer.


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