NZ Post promises more communication

New Zealand Post has promised more communication with South Dunedin post office box users regarding its plan to move a King Edward St facility to an industrial area in Strathallan St.

The company yesterday promised to contact box holders about ''the next steps and available options''.

Exactly what that meant however, was unclear.

The issue emerged this week, after a Dunedin man who had leased a post office box in South Dunedin for the past three decades objected to a New Zealand Post decision to move the boxes away from the main shopping centre.

The company sent letters to all 477 box holders, saying the facility would move to the Dunedin mail centre in the industrial area of Strathallan St.

The boxes are in a one-storey building next to the South Dunedin PostShop in King Edward St, which would stay where it was.

The South Dunedin Business Association responded to the issue, and said it had ''a good proportion of members who are post office box holders in South Dunedin''.

''We are also alarmed about the decision, which purports to be a relocation but is without doubt a withdrawal of service from one of the communities in our city that already faces many challenges,'' president Jane Orbell said.

The association had a meeting this week with a New Zealand Post spokesman, after it complained.

''He was a really nice guy, with nice words, but that was all.''

Ms Orbell said one member had offered a building with parking nearby for the boxes, but that had not been taken up.

''I know for a fact that the post office knew in November last year that they weren't going to continue with the lease, because somebody else got offered the property.

''In June, they sent out our yearly fee.''

One month later, came the letter saying the boxes were moving.

One of her questions was whether box holders could get a refund, but that was unanswered.

It was unanswered again today by a New Zealand Post spokeswoman, after it was put to the company by the Otago Daily Times.

The spokeswoman also did not respond to a question on why the company did not take up the offer of alternative premises.

She did say New Zealand Post was ''in the process of directly contacting our King Edward St box lobby holders about the next steps and available options''.

What those were was unclear.

''We'll be talking with our customers first,'' she said when asked to elaborate.

Ms Orbell said there was plenty of concern about the issue.

''I've had lots of calls.''

''It's a major setback for us, because we're trying to generate more people into South Dunedin.

''That's going to take foot traffic away.''

At the moment, businesses would send one of their staff members to check the post office box.

After the move it would mean leaving South Dunedin, and ''wasting a lot of valuable work time'' to go all the way to Strathallan St, and perhaps not have any mail in the box.

''They had no idea of where Strathallan St was,'' she said of the New Zealand Post representatives.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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