Communications Minister Amy Adams and NZ Post say it's too
early to tell how many of 7000 postal employees will lose
their jobs should a proposal to cut mail delivery services to
three days a week go ahead.
The move was first suggested by former NZ Post chairman Jim
Bolger three years ago in response to diving letter volumes
associated with the rise of email over the last two decades.
That decline has accelerated sharply in recent years.
NZ Post and Ms Adams this morning released a formal proposal
to cut mail delivery days from six to three days a week to
allow "greater flexibility" in its services.
"During the last 10 years mail volumes have dropped
considerably, with 265 million fewer items being posted each
year compared to 2002. Within five years, mail volumes are
forecast to be nearly half what they were in 2002," Ms Adams
The move would require changes to Universal Service
Obligations - an agreement between NZ Post and the Government
which guarantees postal services to the public.
NZ Post will also consult on proposal to bring self-service
kiosks for some services.
"New Zealand Post has advised me that it considers changes
are needed to ensure a sustainable postal service in the 21st
century," said Ms Adams.
"Any change would require Government approval, and before
deciding what, if any, changes to make, I want to give the
public the opportunity to comment on the proposals.
"We want them to start thinking about the last time that they
got a letter that was so time sensitive that another day
would make a difference. It will be a big change, a
significant change and that's why we need to have a good
conversation with the public."
Spokesman John Tulloch said the electronic kiosks would
provide a number of services from wiring parcels to paying
NZ Post was trialling kiosks in 10 stores, but they weren't
necessarily the models that would be used.
"What we're looking at doing is putting more of that
technology into the network to extend that presence."
While the prospect of an entirely kiosk-driven model wasn't
likely soon, it was a possibility in the long run, he said.
"We're still very beholden to the traditional model."
The proposal also "takes account of the fact that technology
and changing customer behaviours mean services can and will
be provided through various channels', Mr Tulloch said.
Long-term, this could mean the extension of services to
supermarkets, stationery stores, pharmacies and service
NZ Post employs about 7000 staff in its mail division
including about 2200 posties.
Ms Adams told reporters that job losses were "something that
they'll be talking to their posties about".
"What they will have to look at is how they will provide that
service whether they use the same posties doing different
routes on different days. That's something they will work
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union postal industry
organiser George Collins said the union recognised the
commercial pressures facing NZ Post, but did not believe a
three-day service was justified.
"Postal services all over the world are suffering from
declining mail volumes and having to adapt, and NZ Post is no
"The EPMU is working together with NZ Post to find ways to
adjust to this decline while protecting postal workers' jobs
and the integrity of New Zealand's postal service.
"This may involve a reduction in the number of delivery days
or redeployment within NZ Post, but we would caution against
any kneejerk reactions."