New Zealand CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information

Monetary Base


Cash Issued




Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


New Zealand is currently in the research phase. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has said it is “exploring if we will introduce a digital form of central bank money alongside cash. This type of money is known as central bank digital currency (CBDC).”

CBDC History and Development

In 2021, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand published an “issues paper” that explored the case for issuing a retail CBDC and called on the public to share their input. In exploring the case for a CBDC, the paper argues that a CBDC could provide a “fair and equal way to pay and save in our modern and inclusive economy.” To achieve this goal, the paper proposes a four-stage approach: (1) develop the policy case, (2) design and test the CBDC, (3) consult the public, and (4) launch the CBDC. As for the public input, there were over 6,000 responses. Many had concerns about a CBDC being used to replace cash, surveil financial transactions, exclude certain groups, and create new cyber risks.

In 2022, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand entered “stage 2” of its approach to begin exploring different design options for a CBDC and working with the public on selecting the best design. This process is expected to be completed by 2026.

In 2023, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand added a new page to its website to explain what a CBDC is and why the central bank is looking into one. Notably, the page says, “We are looking at a CBDC because the way people pay is changing. We are not using cash as much as we used to, and digital payments are becoming more and more common.” However, this statement is later followed by a disclaimer that “A CBDC would not replace cash — a CBDC would work alongside cash, so people would have the option to use both.”

In April 2024, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand published a consultation paper to update the public on its stance regarding CBDC development and call for feedback. Curiously, the paper seems to distance itself from the idea of a CBDC as it mentions “cash” over 430 times, but “CBDC” only 8 times. However, the CBDC described would be issued by the Reserve Bank, distributed by the private sector, available 24/7, and secure.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

New Zealand earned a 99 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. Even then, however, it’s important to recognize that the creation of a CBDC could open the door to risks to financial privacy and financial freedom.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.