That's because the Reserve Bank distributes banknotes only when it receives orders from banks. Orders for replacement $5 and $10 notes come in less frequently than other denominations, as they tend to circulate much more between retailers and consumers.
|"Where can I get a few billion more?"|
Currently about 345,000 of the new notes have been sent out to banks - that compares to about 45-million existing $5 and $10 notes currently in circulation, so they may take a while to filter down to our wallets!
The new notes still feature legendary adventurer Edmund Hillary and suffragette Kate Sheppard but also include more Maori designs. The rest of the new notes ($20, $50 and $100), will be released in April 2016.
Personally, I think they look bright and interesting (although the image of the Queen does show her advancing years perhaps a bit too realistically).
But not everyone is happy...and, par for the course these days, those who are moaning are our indigenous brethren!
A certain tribal group is complaining that a design (on the new $10) from a Maori meeting house has been used without their permission. And the bros have even rolled out their lawyers to battle for their intellectual property rights.
The fact that the meeting house was confiscated in 1867 after the Maori Wars, and has been on public display in a national museum for many decades since, seems to have escaped them.
It appears they're just focused on a fast compensation opportunity. Now there's a thought: just wait until the current notes are no longer legal tender, and then give the brothers the entire NZ supply. They can wallpaper every whare in the land with 'em if they like! A great recycling initiative...
UPDATE: 10 Nov.2015 - Ha, the joke's on bro! Turns out that the decorative maori panel on the $10 note - subject of legal action to stop its use - was never actually part of said maori meeting house at all! Oh dear, how sad, no compensation!!