It seems Whanganui folk are happy to look a gift horse in the mouth.

To try to get more ratepayers to receive rates demands via email, the Whanganui District Council offered a $500 cash prize every quarter to one lucky punter who took up the email option.

But the response has been so poor that council has now dropped the inducement.

Mike Fermor, council's finance manager, said to date only 1001 of the district ratepayers chose the email option, just a fraction of the total number of ratepayers in Whanganui.

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Mr Fermor said interest in using email rose from 851 before August last year to 934 at the beginning of January this year and currently sits at 1001. The number of ratepayers, on average, is 20,900.

"To help promote this service, the council has undertaken considerable promotion in addition to offering one lucky draw per quarter of $500," he said.

The email teaser is now in its fourth year and council has paid out $7500 in prize money.

But given the low level of uptake, council has decided to make the next draw, on June 3, the last.

However, it will continue to offer ratepayers the option of receiving the demands electronically rather than via the post.