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'Still a role for cash' Reserve Bank says, despite Kiwi consumers' preference for electronic payments

The Reserve Bank wants cash to stay, even though a recent survey showed 80 per cent of New Zealanders prefer using cards and electronic methods to pay for goods and services.

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Reserve Bank Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby gives his thoughts on the reasons why. Source: Breakfast

The central bank says it wants to protect the seven per cent of those who took part in their survey, who say they use cash most, if not all of the time. Consultation on the proposal closes today.

Reserve Bank assistant governor Christian Hawkesby told TVNZ1's Breakfast today that the bank sees its role as to meet the needs of society. 

"We are getting a very clear message from our engagement and consultation that people are using electronic methods as their primary method of payment, but people still want to carry cash and hold cash and they still see a role for cash," said Mr Hawkesby.

"There are pockets of society that are still reliant on cash. so the very young the very old, isolated, people in rural communities. We feel like we need to have a cash system that's fit for purpose.

Mr Hawkesby said while there are central banks overseas moving to more cashless models, they are still looking to meet the needs of society, and even countries like Sweden which have moved to a more cashless model are looking at embracing cash again. 

"What they've found is that hasn't met the needs of everyone. They're actually moving back now to try and protect the role of cash in society. 

"At the same time ensuring that there is scope for technological change and for more electronic payments as well. 

With consultation closing today, he said the bank would like to be the one to take responsibility for the cash system in New Zealand. 

"We're really putting our hands up and saying we think the Reserve Bank should have stewardship over the system to ensure that  evolves through time and meets the needs of society and that will enable us to work really closely with the banks.