Late Items
























Grant Smith (Mayor)

Tangi Utikere (Deputy Mayor)

Brent Barrett

Patrick Handcock ONZM

Susan Baty

Leonie Hapeta

Rachel Bowen

Lorna Johnson

Zulfiqar Butt

Billy Meehan

Vaughan Dennison

Karen Naylor

Renee Dingwall

Bruno Petrenas

Lew Findlay QSM

Aleisha Rutherford


















27 May 2020







7.         Voucher - Process Options and Feasibility                                                          Page 5

Memorandum, presented by Sacha Haskell, General Manager -  Marketing and Communications.


Reasons for lateness: Request for report only came from Elected Members recently.

Reason it needs to be considered at this meeting: Any decision on this would need to be incorporated into the Annual Budget 2020/21.


15.       Amendment to the Council and Committee Meeting Schedule for 2020       Page 17

Memorandum, presented by Hannah White, Democracy and Governance Manager.    


Reason for lateness: Co-ordination of meetings was disrupted due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Reason it needs to be considered at this meeting: to ensure the public are notified of the meetings within the appropriate notice period.









TO:                                Council

MEETING DATE:           27 May 2020

TITLE:                            Voucher - Process Options and Feasibility

Presented By:            Sacha Haskell, General Manager -  Marketing and Communications

APPROVED BY:             Sacha Haskell, General Manager - Marketing and Communications




1.   That Council receive the report entitled “Voucher – Process Options and Feasibility dated 27 May 2020.

2.   That the Chief Executive be instructed to investigate further one of Options A-F and report back to the Committee of Council on 10 June 2020.


That Council decides not to pursue a Voucher scheme at this time.



1.         ISSUE

After launching ‘Choose Manawatu’ as part of the recovery plan workshop discussions, Councillors expressed a desire to support businesses further by creating a voucher to encourage spending in the Palmerston North City business sector to assist the business in their economic recovery.


Introducing a ‘Buy Local’ campaign is a Stage 1 outcome of our City Recovery plan to promote local businesses and encourage consumer spending.


To manage a voucher programme within a budget the end date of any programme will need to align with either the end of a financial year e.g. 30 June 2020, or until the number of rebates have been fulfilled to the assigned budget - whichever is earlier.

2.         BACKGROUND

The retail and service sector in Palmerston North has been hit hard due to the consumer purchasing restrictions under Covid 19 lockdown and needs to recover with pace to save businesses within the city.

Recent indications from weekly credit and EFTPOS transactions are that while the city is yet to meet the same levels this time last year, city recovery is happening, and consumer Spending is returning as shown below in the recent Marketview report received as at 17

May 2020).


Even though the community and shoppers are regaining confidence to return to the city, many businesses are under immense financial stress through continued business expenses and with many consumers having reduced incomes, having less discretionary income to spend locally. In addition, many small to medium businesses now struggle to resource marketing campaigns in order to promote their businesses, and without promotion it is difficult to attract custom and adds to the economic difficulties they face.

To assist the buy local campaign “Choose Manawatu” was launched and now has over 200 businesses registered within the Manawatu region. It provides a digital platform to promote their businesses online and provides a toolkit of resources to help promote their business.

A voucher, discount or rebate offer can also be used to encourage purchasing behaviour and many businesses already provide similar offers directly to consumers. Implementation of a voucher requires a process that can protect the merchant, and purchaser against fraud or misuse, as well as requires administration. Any voucher redemption mechanic requires administration and depending on the mechanic its responsibility lies between the merchant receiving the voucher, the purchaser redeeming the voucher, and the programme administrator – in this case suggested as the Council.

To ensure the scheme fits within an allocated budget, it will require a finite quantity of vouchers, a set timeline and clear communication. Council should anticipate 100% of redemption of the scheme and preferably aim to have this completed within the financial year for ease of administration.

Council will have to decide whether the scheme applies to residents or ratepayers or whether this differentiation is important at all, as this impacts the mechanics for fulfilment and distribution costs. There is a total of 30,693 rateable residential and rural properties within the PNCC boundary, of which approximately 280 ratepayers reside overseas, with an additional 500 properties owned by council. Thus 29,913 rateable properties would be suitable for a voucher programme.


Options to implement such a system have been explored and are provided below.



3.         OPTIONS

The options which Council can encourage retail spending in the city are through one, or a combination of the following structures. Any incentive however needs to act as part payment for a larger total purchase amount.



Use an existing available voucher or discount programme such as ‘prezzy card’, or ‘local

card’ (Option A)


This is utilising an ‘off the shelf’ product.

-     Print and distribute a bespoke council voucher or card that can be redeemed by the recipient.

-     Offer a cash back rebate on a receipt of purchase as a way of discounting.

An example explaining each option is provided based on the following:

-     Voucher is valued at $10 incl. GST. (GST excl. $8.70 as the cost to council per unit), and is redeemable against a required minimum total purchase of $30 incl. GST or $26 excl. GST revenue to the business. This $30 minimum purchase is recommended by the Chamber of Commerce as an appropriate and reasonable amount. 

-     Printing, postage and administration are additional costs

-     Rateable properties are eligible for the incentive with a maximum of one per household.


There are existing incentive programmes available to encourage consumers to purchase at local businesses. Supporting these are websites listing the local businesses they apply to, and how to purchase vouchers or receive the discount either online or in person.

Example (a-1): SOS Business

This website established early on in New Zealand’s lockdown aims to help small businesses mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 by setting up a way for their regular clients and supporters to buy vouchers for future products from those businesses.

Originally for cafes, now lists well over 2000 businesses across the country from a range of industries although is still predominantly food and beverages businesses. It excludes large businesses and franchises, and if a business has their own voucher system, they can link to that directly rather than using the platform.

While this process is now an established system that does not require administration by council staff, there are disadvantages:

-     for the merchant it takes over a week for businesses to receive their refund from the vouchers

-     there is a cost to the merchant fees of 2% of the transaction cost plus 30c per transaction which goes to Shopify - a third-party online purchase platform.

-     retailers do not receive the full purchase price and payment is not as immediate as other options outlined.

-     There is no connection back to the buy local campaign Choose Manawatū and would require businesses to list on both websites.


To use this channel as a platform for Council to offer a voucher, they could offer a $10 discount for any business listed in Palmerston North on which would be redeemable using a specific code e.g. Choose Manawatu or PalmyProud.

Example (a-2): Local Card

In Queenstown residents can purchase a ‘Local Card’ for $49 per annum, which gives them access to 100+ businesses across the Queenstown Lakes District offering incentives, bonuses and local discounts ranging from 10-60%. This scheme was established in 2018 by a couple of locals who were frustrated by the high tourist rates that locals were forced to pay.


While this is only available to residents of Queenstown, Council could look to implement a similar system and produce and cover the cost of the card to residents, however the cost of the discount from the stores would either be borne by registered businesses, or be covered by Council. The latter would be not be practicable as the amount of discount and frequency of purchases could not be managed within any predetermined budget.

There are several advantages of an off the shelf product like Local Card:

-     Local Card is administered independently and requires low involvement from Council, businesses and consumers to use.

-     The consumer may want to use it more often to get the $49 cost of the card back - and this could be considered an incentive to purchase more locally more frequently

However, countering this is the environment - where the future is not entirely certain. Consumers are generally being more conservative and cautious and, on this basis, the $49 price tag per card would be considered too high, even if council subsidised Local Card $10 incl GST per card and the $39 to purchase a Local Card might not be of value to ratepayers.

This system is also reliant on businesses joining local card to provide the value.


Example (a-2): Prezzy Card

This is a well-known voucher system where the person you give it to can choose from tens of millions of Visa outlets around the world, including selected online merchants.

While it is easy to administer once purchased and distributed (there is no administration) Prezzy cards cannot be ‘ring fenced’ for use within Palmerston North City businesses only and has a minimum per card purchase of $25 incl. GST (21.74 excl.GST). At $21.74 per card to cover the cost to 29,913 rateable properties would be a cost to council of $$650,308 excluding any postage required if it is to be sent to ratepayers.



Develop own card or voucher (Option B)

Council could provide its own card or voucher to residents or ratepayers. The difference between a card and a voucher system is the card holder can access multiple discounted transactions rather than a voucher which is usually a ‘one use’ system at the point of sale.


Example (b-1) Council Card system

Palmerston North City Council could print and produce their own card that is redeemable for a certain percentage discount on minimum purchases, or to a dollar value. Council can print cards in house, and these could be collected at council venues or distributed to ratepayers through either Council rates correspondence, or if the distribution was to be residents as opposed to ratepayers, this could be achieved through Palmy Proud magazine distribution. The cost to print the cards in-house for 29,913 cards will be $89,739. External printing sourced would reduce the printing cost to approximately $77,774.

The next Palmy Proud magazine distribution is June 2020, and the next rates notice is 1 August 2020.

Locals would present the card or voucher at the time of purchase to a Choose Manawatu registered business registered within Palmerston North.  To be part of the scheme the business agrees to offer a minimum discount to card holders on a minimum purchase e.g. 10% on a minimum purchase of $30 or more.

Currently when businesses sign up for Choose Manawatu, they are not asked to offer a discount.


Advantages of a card are:

-     Low administration required by the merchant, Council and purchaser on the basis that it is the card holders responsibility if the card is lost or stolen.

-     It is easy to distribute the card through using existing council distribution channels to ratepayers or residents

-     A card is more tangible to handle, as vouchers can get ripped and lost more easily.

-     It enables multiple discounted transactions so the user can receive multiple discounts.

Disadvantages of a card:

-     Many stores already have a discount system or in the hospitality sector (buy 10 get one free) and might see this as conflicting with their own program.

-     The merchant carries the cost of the discount and would have to carry the risk and revenue loss of the cost of the discounts processed this the point of sale. 


Example (b-2): Council voucher system

Using a voucher system multiple vouchers are printed and either sent to rateable properties or are available at a Council venue or site to pick up.

Vouchers are redeemable at Choose Manawatu registered businesses who display the Choose Manawatu member window sticker and that business must be located within the Palmerston North City boundary.

The voucher acts as a cash equivalent of $10 incl. GST, for any purchase $30 incl .GST or more effectively providing a discount to the purchaser at time of purchase in store - much like the card.

The merchant collects any vouchers redeemed within the period, providing the discount to the purchaser at point of sale and produces an invoice to the Council with the vouchers attached at the end of the period to then be paid to the merchant.

This would mean every business that receives a voucher would have to be set up as a supplier to Council by finance in order to pay on invoice. This is a normal part of the payments process set up by finance.

Advantages of a Voucher:

-     there is no Council financial administration required until the end of the eligible timeframe.

-     the offer can be enacted quickly and without delay and completed before the end of the current Financial year.

-     To mitigate risk of fraud, the voucher numbers can be recorded against the supplier invoice and cross matched with the business receipts.

-     It can be executed within a set budget.

-     Provides incentive for ratepayers to spend locally, or encourage those that may have hesitated to spend due to their financial situation. Therefore, assist in recovering revenue.

-     Provides incentive for ratepayers that have not purchased from these qualifying local businesses before to try them. Therefore businesses would gain additional revenue and new customers. 


Disadvantages of Voucher:

-     All businesses would have to be set up as a supplier to Council in order to be to be paid on invoice and be processed accordingly. However, this is already completed for any new supplier invoices.

-     The merchant does not receive the full payment at point of purchase and there is a time delay to receiving the money from Council. The merchant would effectively have to take the ‘risk’ initially of accepting less than the full cash payment at the point of sale. However, it is common practice to receive payment for invoices in the following month.

-     The vouchers would have to be pre-printed and may incur the same postage distribution costs if it is intended for rateable properties to only receive the vouchers.

-     The Voucher does not encourage spending by visitors to the city as vouchers would have to be distributed locally to residents.



Rebate or ‘cashback’ on qualified purchase (Option C)


This option is to provide a cash rebate on a purchase from a qualified business within the city boundary, which can be validated on presentation of the original receipt of purchase.

The mechanic for a rebate redemption is outlined at high level below:

-     The consumer purchases goods and services to a total value of $30 incl. GST (or more) from a registered business within the Choose Manawatu buy local campaign.

-     The transaction is completed in store as normal and the merchant receives full payment at the point of sale.

-     Within the set timeframe - the purchaser furnishes the original receipt to appointed Council staff and exchanges the receipts for a rebate of $10 cash, provided in an envelope.

-     Appropriate controls would be put in place to mitigate the risk of misappropriation of funds prior to the release of cash rebates. This would include retaining the receipt, checking identification, reconciliations etc.


The advantages of cashback rebate are:

-     The Merchant receives full payment at point of sale and has no administration requirements placed upon them.

-     Council staff administering the cash back rebate could be located at the iSite in the CBD, so the purchaser will likely not have to wait or travel significantly to receive the rebate after purchase. 

-     Purchasers who visit the iSite can receive the Choose Manawatu hard copy of the retail and service guide and provide this to businesses at the time of redemption. This is an opportunity to cross sell and upsell goods and services available in the city.

-     iSite staff can provide real time reporting daily on the rebate redemption uptake against the allocated budget and there is no delay in reporting of redemptions. There is a fixed running total of fulfilment that can be provided at any time to measure success of the offer.

-     site staff are trained in handling cash receipts and stocktake daily currently.

-     several security checks and balances are already completed every day at the site during normal business hours, and physical security guard checks occur daily by Allied Security.

-     Enables scale into other areas political boundaries and areas without limitation through staff being able to extend the eligible businesses from the Choose Manawatu list.

-     The Council will utilise inhouse resources to implement appropriate controls to mitigate any risks prior to offering cash rebates. This includes daily reconciliations, checking identification of customers, internal audits etc.


Disadvantages of cashback rebate:

-     It requires staff to manage the cash handling. They are currently trained with receipts and will need to be trained for cash payments.

-     It may lead to consumer disappointment if they try to redeem their receipt after any time period.

-     Several controls will need to be implemented and tested to mitigate risks such as misappropriation of funds (fraud, theft and human error). This would in turn increase administration costs to enable the secure release of cash rebates.

-     Public organisations are generally discouraged to deal with cash payments, therefore we would need to provide ratepayers with assurance that we have put in place sufficient controls to mitigate risks to an acceptable level but this is not a practice we would encourage in normal circumstances.

-     There is no mechanic to stop people claiming multiple times, although one could be introduced.


Rates remission alternative (Option D)

As an alternative to distributing a voucher of a value to ratepayers a voucher, council could electronically provide a rates remission of the equivalent amount to each ratepayer. However, this would not have the desired effect of encouraging additional spending in the CBD.


QR code or e system (Option E)

There is no appropriate QR code or similar electronic app system that is available which acts as a voucher or discount system which is separate from an existing program already listed.


Palmy card offering other controllable benefits (Option F)

Issued to ratepayers, the card printed in-house by Council would provide the cardholder with a benefit that Council could offer directly. For example three hours of free parking at all Council parking meters. The cardholder displays the Palmy card on their dashboard to qualify for the free parking period. This allows people access to shop for a longer period of time and therefore, potentially spending more locally.

In addition, the card could be used as a discount card with Council venues, facilities and services which would be negotiated separately e.g. the Lido, Freyberg Pool, Splashhurst, Palmy merchandise at the iSITE, and so on. This would provide a connection and recognition back to Council for the programme.

Over time, Choose Manawatū retailers could also join the scheme when they are better positioned to offer discounts. This could be a campaign Council runs closer to Christmas time to remind people to shop local. 

Distribution of the card would be online thereby creating a database of our community with the ability to opt-in to receive regular information about Council activities.  A paper-based sign up form could also be available at Customer Services.


4.         FEASIBILITY

Any costs are subject to the value of the voucher, quantities distributed, any print and distribution costs, as well as advertising costs to ensure the programme is widely used by locals.


There is a total of 30,693 rateable residential and rural properties in PNCC boundary, of which approximate5ly 280 ratepayers reside overseas, with an additional 500 properties owned by PNCC. Thus the rateable properties suitable for a voucher or discount programme is expected to be 29,913 properties.

If the voucher is valued at $10 incl. GST per voucher, this equates to a total cost to council of $299,130 incl. GST plus print and post costs estimated at $14,760.85[1].

If council were to include the voucher in the next rates notice, or in a Palmy Proud magazine it would be distributed on 1 August 2020, or in June 2020 respectively, and incur minimal postage costs.


To produce a plastic membership card the print costs are approximately $78,000 based on $2.60 per card.



Many stores offer their own discount/incentive scheme and some consumers are not wanting to take advantage of these right now while businesses are struggling financially.

Wide scale discounting can create new expectations of price and value, and provides a ‘new normal’ pricing for consumers. If there is a large uptake, consumers who do not have the card / voucher or benefit - may refuse to pay full price and shop around on this basis forcing business to offer the discount regardless of whether the customer holds the card or voucher, or the business is registered as part of the program. This may not be a concern for council as any spending may be considered good under the circumstances.


The perception of a voucher from the Council back to ratepayers may be perceived poorly overall in that a proportion of people will think they are being sent $10 of their rates back in the post in the form of a voucher.


With some publicity of a council sponsored voucher in the media, it has prompted some social media feedback from the public and the rates remission alternative has provided in response to this public feedback.


Previous comparison has been made between the redemption rates of vouchers under ‘normal’ circumstances and a council ‘sponsored’ voucher or discount system.


This can be misleading for the following reasons:

-     Gift vouchers are usually purchased from businesses for goods or services when the purchaser knows it will be attractive to the recipient e.g. as a gift to a restaurant that the purchaser knows the recipient uses already or will like.

-     Gift vouchers usually hold a higher dollar value, than that which is feasible for council to provide across all ratepayers or residents. For example a $50 voucher to 29,913 ratepayers equates to a $1.495m cost to council.


6.         NEXT STEPS

1.   Decide which system Council wish to offer, if any.

2.   Decide the total budget, preferred method of fulfilment, and length of term


7.         Compliance and administration

Does the Committee have delegated authority to decide?

If Yes quote relevant clause(s) from Delegations Manual


Are the decisions significant?


If they are significant do they affect land or a body of water?


Can this decision only be made through a 10 Year Plan?


Does this decision require consultation through the Special Consultative procedure?


Is there funding in the current Annual Plan for these actions?


Are the recommendations inconsistent with any of Council’s policies or plans?


The recommendations contribute to Goal 1: An Innovative and Growing City


The recommendations contribute to the outcomes of the Economic Development Strategy


The recommendations contribute to the achievement of action/actions in Not Applicable


Contribution to strategic direction and to social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being

Enhance the economic wellbeing of the city as a part of the Recovery Plan.












TO:                                Council

MEETING DATE:           27 May 2020

TITLE:                            Amendment to the Council and Committee Meeting Schedule for 2020

Presented By:            Hannah White, Democracy and Governance Manager

APPROVED BY:             Sheryl Bryant, General Manager - Strategy & Planning




1.   That Council amend the Council and Committee meeting schedule to include the following committee meetings:

9am 22 June 2020 – Rangitāne o Manawatū Committee

9am 1 July 2020 - Community Development Committee

1pm 1 July 2020 – Environmental Sustainability Committee

9am 29 July 2020 – Council

9am 30 November 2020 – Rangitāne o Manawatū Committee





1.         ISSUE

1.1       In March Council resolved to cancel all committee meetings during Covid-19 alert levels 3 and 4. In order for committees to catch up on the business they missed in April, we ask for the following additional committee meetings be scheduled on the Council’s calendar of meetings.

·    9am 1 July 2020 - Community Development Committee

·    1pm 1 July 2020 – Environmental Sustainability Committee

·    9am 29 July 2020 – Council


Dates for the Rangitāne o Manawatū committee have also been agreed, so it is possible to add these as well.


·    9am 22 June 2020 – Rangitāne o Manawatū Committee

·    9am 30 November 2020 – Rangitāne o Manawatū Committee


2.         BACKGROUND

2.1       Section 7(19)(6) of the LGA allows for local authorities to adopt and amend a schedule of meetings:

Section 7(19)(6) If a local authority adopts a schedule of meetings,—

(a)the schedule—

(i)may cover any future period that the local authority considers appropriate; and

(ii)may be amended; and

(b) notification of the schedule or of any amendment to that schedule constitutes a notification of every meeting on the schedule or amendment.

3.         Next steps

3.1       If approved, these meetings will be publicly notified.

4.         Compliance and administration

Does the Committee have delegated authority to decide?

If Yes quote relevant clause(s) from Delegations Manual


Are the decisions significant?


If they are significant do they affect land or a body of water?


Can this decision only be made through a 10 Year Plan?


Does this decision require consultation through the Special Consultative procedure?


Is there funding in the current Annual Plan for these actions?


Are the recommendations inconsistent with any of Council’s policies or plans?


The recommendations contribute to Goal 5: A Driven and Enabling Council


The recommendations contribute to the outcomes of the Driven and Enabling Council Strategy


The recommendations contribute to the achievement of action/actions in Not Applicable


Contribution to strategic direction and to social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being

Council business can continue, in turn contributing to the recovery of the City post COVID-19 lockdown.






[1] $13,460.85 to DX mail at 45c per address plus an estimated $1,300 includes design and print.