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Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 6. Tuesday, June 4, 1963

1967 Decimal Switch to Cost £4 Million

page 3

1967 Decimal Switch to Cost £4 Million

The basic advantage of the change to decimal coinage lies in the relative ease and speed of calculation in decimals compared with pounds, shillings and pence.

Only one set of rules is required for calculation as compared with three under the present system, because no conversions are necessary in multiplication and division. Decimal notation requires fewer figures than notation in pounds, shillings and pence.

Everyone will gain from this, and, in particular, there will be substantial economies to be derived in industry and commerce, from a saving of man hours in recording, calculation and checking an Improvement in accuracy, less fatigue and greater flexibility of office machinery.

Most countries of the world are decimal countries—of the major countries Britain will be virtually alone in 1966 in not having a decimal system. Some of the most important advances in business machinery have taken place in countries like the United states and Germany. Up till now their machines have had to be converted, at some expense, for use in New Zealand.

The conversion or replacement of existing machines, made necessary by the introduction of decimal coinage, is going to be a costly matter.

The New Zealand Decimal Coinage Committee recommended that appropriate compensation be paid by Government for the cost of converting office machines and cash registers and for the replacement or unconvertable machines.

This committee reported favourably in 1959 on the change over to a decimal system based on a major unit equalling the existing ten shillings.

They estimated that the probable outlay involved for Government would be between £34 million and £4½ million in the money values prevailing at that time. But they saw the cost involved as a defined amount incurred within a relatively short period, which would soon be offset by substantial benefits which would continue into the endless future. They asserted that, with the increasing trend towards office mechanisation and with the growth of business, the longer a change was delayed, the greater the cost of change would be.

Thus the decision of Government to follow Australiain changing to decimal coinage is, I think, to be welcomed.