New Zealand central bank chief says ‘no plans’ for CBDC

A senior executive at New Zealand’s central bank has said there are currently no imminent plans to launch a central bank digital currency in the country, despite efforts from central banks around the world exploring the technology.

Assistant governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Christian Hawkesby made the remarks in a speech earlier this week, in which he said the country was not ready to consider developing and launching a CBDC of its own.

In his speech, Hawkesby said that the bank remains open minded about the possibility in the future, and will continue to monitor developments in payments and other emerging technologies.

“To issue currency that meets the needs of the public, we must take a new and holistic approach. We acknowledge there is much work to be done. We do not yet have all the answers, nor do we expect to find them alone. However, by working together with New Zealand we want to be ‘on the money’ now and in the future.”

Speaking to the benefits of cash and existing payment systems, Hawkesby said these “have so far been not well replicated by electronic money.” In particular, the assistant governor pointed to benefits such as legal tender money, instant settlement for in-person transactions, privacy, autonomy and the ability to have an offline backup form for payment.

Hawkesby’s comments chime with similar remarks from the United States in recent days, with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell saying plans for a digital dollar would wait until the Reserve had all the information it needs about CBDCs.

Pointing to a persistent demand for cash in the U.S. economy, Powell said there were still many unanswered questions about CBDCs in practice.

“CBDC is one of those issues where it’s more important for the United States to get it right than it is to be first.”

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