Christchurch City Council committee keen to introduce city's own dollar
A city council committee is advancing plans to create a "Christchurch dollar" and wants a meeting with regulators about the concept.
Te Hononga Council – Papatipu Runanga Committee is interested in a community currency for Canterbury and the Treasury and Reserve Bank have been approached about the concept.
The committee is focusing on the Bristol Pound as a potential model. It was introduced in Britain in 2012 and can be spent in Bristol and the County of Avon.
A workshop, including discussions on how to proceed with the idea, is proposed for April, dependant on the availability of attendees from the United Kingdom and central Government.
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Te Hononga is also following up with key regulatory agencies including the Reserve Bank. The workshop could result in a feasibility paper being produced.
Cr Raf Manji, who has worked in London's financial markets and heads the council's finance committee, has "sponsored" Te Hononga interests within the city council.
"It is ultimately is boosting local economy by creating currency that circulates just within that economy . . . it basically means people are buying and selling within the same place," he said.
"The general studies show that it decreases leakage out of an economy, but it increases the basic economic activity, but at a local level.
Manji first approached the Reserve Bank and Treasury over a year ago.
"We've got an example of the Bristol Pound, which involved the UK Treasury and the Bank of England, so actually let's look at that model [and] see if it's something that would work here, or whether we needed to sort of adapt it," he said.
Te Hononga is a joint committee that includes Mayor Lianne Dalziel, city councillors and representatives from various local runanga.
"They've had good discussions at their local level, so it could have legs," Manji said.
"We still haven't had kind of the initial workshops with the regulators and that's the bit that we need to do first to get this under way."
He believed the introduction of a Christchurch Dollar was achievable.
"I think if we do it the right way and we take our time and we work through all the issues up front . . . it's a possibility.
"I don't think it's something that's going to happen overnight, I don't think it's something that is so urgent, but I think this is a piece of work that we do need to do."