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Voluntary Code of Practice for Unaddressed Mail

News Release 22 May 2006

Marketers Take Socially Responsible Approach With Voluntary Code of Practice for Unaddressed Mail

The Marketing Association announced today that, in response to proposed Council bylaws, a voluntary national code of practice for unaddressed mail is to be implemented.

The Code has been developed in response to new waste bylaws proposed by three Auckland Councils, which would have placed restrictions on the deposit of unaddressed unsolicited advertising material in private letterboxes marked with a ‘no junk mail’ sign (or similar) and on vehicles parked in public places. A voluntary Code is viewed as a more practical and effective alternative to the imposition of these Council bylaws.

“Unaddressed mail, in the form of flyers, leaflets, brochures, circulars and business cards are an integral part of many advertisers’ marketing campaigns and we want to make sure this tool is used responsibly,” Marketing Association Chief Executive, Mr Keith Norris, said today.

The organisations and individuals who are committed to following the Code will respect the wishes of residents and boxholders and refrain from leaving unaddressed advertising and marketing material in their letterboxes if a sign requesting non-delivery is displayed.

The Marketing Association has worked with a group of distribution companies, retailers, magazine and newspaper publishers including New Zealand Post, Deltarg, PMP Ltd, and The New Zealand Retailers Association to develop the voluntary Code of Practice. These organisations, which account for over 95% of all unaddressed mail deliveries, will be actively promoting the Code to their members and employees.

Mr Norris said it was desirable to reach a balance between the benefits of unsolicited mail to households in the form of special offers and discounts on consumer goods and industry taking a socially responsible stance in regards to the environment and the community. “It’s an interesting fact that 65% of respondents to a recent professionallyconducted survey consider unaddressed mail provides them with information and promotions about products and services before they shop”, said Norris.

The key principle of the Code is to respect at all times the individual rights and privacy of the consumer. It prohibits delivery of unaddressed mail to letterboxes with a sign requesting non-delivery, or where there is no letterbox, the letterbox is full, or it is unsuitable for such material. An 0800 number (0800 111 811) will be operated by the Marketing Association from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday to receive complaints from the public about non-compliance with the Code. Letterbox signs are available from leading hardware retailers.



As at 22 May 2006


The unaddressed mail distribution industry, as represented by the Marketing Association, recognises that unaddressed mail is a compelling advertising medium used by many New Zealand organisations. With this in mind, the industry has developed a Code of Practice to minimise the abuse of unaddressed mail and to ensure that its integrity as a marketing tool is maintained and strengthened.


This Code is voluntary but all signatories to the Code, including the distributors of unaddressed mail, their customers, employees, franchisees and contractors agree to:

_ Uphold the spirit of the Code in all respects;

_ Respect at all times the individual rights and privacy of the consumer;

_ Ensure any delivery with which they are associated is consistent with the high standard of performance required by this Code.



2.1 Unaddressed mail, including brochures, flyers and business cards, must not be delivered to letterboxes where a sign requesting non-delivery is displayed;

2.2 Unaddressed mail and free newspapers must not be delivered to letterboxes displaying an “Addressed mail only” sign.

2.3 Unaddressed mail must not be delivered to addresses where there is no letterbox or where the letterbox is unsuitable for receiving or holding such material;

2.4 Unaddressed mail must not be delivered to letterboxes that are already full;

2.5 Other mail/material already in the letterbox must not be removed to make space for unaddressed mail;


2.6 Distributors must minimise waste by working closely with clients and printers to ensure product volumes are as closely matched as possible to the quantities required for delivery rounds;

2.7 Multiple copies dropped off for delivery must be secured in a safe place which has been authorised by the householder or other approved person;

2.8 In the unlikely event of unaddressed mail being dumped, the mail must be recovered by the relevant distributor and a full investigation undertaken to identify the reasons for the occurrence and to ensure that such an event is not repeated;


2.9 Distributors must train all delivery staff to ensure they understand and maintain the accepted standards of conduct under this Code, and will provide a copy of this Code of Practice at staff members’ commencement of employment;

2.10 Distributors must ensure an appropriate system of performance management is in place to resolve breaches of the Code;

2.11 All delivery staff will be provided with a copy of this Code every 12 months or sooner if amendments are incorporated at any time.


2.12 “No unaddressed mail” signs are available from local Councils at no cost;

2.13 This Code will be published on the Marketing Association website and regularly promoted to Government, business and charitable organisations;

2.14 Individuals and authorities with complaints or queries regarding incorrect delivery of unaddressed advertising material are welcome to call the Marketing Association on 0800 111 081

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Dumping : Means disposing of multiple copies of unaddressed mail in a public place (e.g. street, park, stream) when they are surplus to the number of letterboxes in any delivery route, or when the delivery person chooses to dispose of rather than deliver them.

Note : Distribution companies regularly monitor the quantities required for any particular route to minimise the risk of dumping. Part of the training given to delivery staff will include the responsible disposal or return of surplus mail.

Letterbox : A letterbox is the receptacle into which mail is delivered. It can be a single letterbox at the street-side of a residential property; one of a row of letterboxes at the street-side of a right-ofway where a number of houses is located; one of a row or bank of letterboxes in the lobby of an apartment block; or a letterbox at the roadside of a rural address.

In many cases the letterbox will comprise a weather-proof, enclosed section with a slot large enough for medium letters to fit through without opening the box; a cylinder into which newspapers are inserted; and an open-backed section into which small packages or oversized envelopes can be delivered. In some instances, the letterbox will only comprise one compartment with a slot for the delivery of letters, and a lift-up lid to enable newspapers to be placed in it.

The wide range of designs of letterboxes means that the judgement of the delivery person is particularly important when the size/capacity of the letterbox makes it unsuitable to receive a particular item, or when a letterbox is already full. (see points 2.2 and 2.3 in the Code).

Multiple Copies : Bundled quantities of unaddressed mail dropped off at an area supervisor’s location or at an individual distributor’s address, awaiting delivery into letterboxes.

Sign requesting non-delivery : Any sign displayed on a letterbox requesting that unaddressed mail not be delivered to that letterbox. The wording of such signs can vary, e.g. “No unaddressed mail”, “Addressed mail only”, “No junk mail”, “No circulars”, “Addressed mail and newspapers only”. All such wording conveys the same meaning and must be honoured.

Unaddressed mail : Means any mail or material that does not have a street address (i.e. street/road name and number, suburb, city or rural delivery address). It includes advertising material such as circulars, leaflets, brochures, magazines or flyers.

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