Prime Minister John Key says the loss of up to 2000 postal
jobs is the "brutal reality" of people sending fewer letters.
New Zealand Post announced this morning it expected to axe
the jobs in an attempt to safeguard its future options.
Chairman Sir Michael Cullen said the organisation would focus
on logistics and financial services, innovation in its mail
and retail network, and lowering costs.
The changes, which have been slammed as "simply cruel" by the
posties' union, will start to be implemented next year.
Mr Key acknowledged it was a difficult time for everyone
involved, but said it was the "brutal reality" of people
sending fewer letters.
"Unfortunately, technology is dramatically changing the way
we communicate with each other ... at the same time we're
seeing an increase in jobs in the IT space. It's a change
that not just New Zealand but a lot of other countries are
Mr Key disagreed with the union that the Government had made
the announcement "out of the blue".
"There's been a lot of discussion about what would happen if
there was a change to the number of days that the mail was
delivered to people's homes.
"Overall, I think this has been well and truly telegraphed.
While I'm sure it will be a shock to people initially, in
fact there's been quite a lot of public discourse on this
issue for quite some time."
Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union postal industry
organiser Joe Gallagher said the announcement had come as a
real shock to union members.
"Yet again New Zealand Post and the Government have made a
huge announcement out of the blue.
"These plans have clearly been in the pipeline for a long
time, but the people affected by them, including all New
Zealanders who use the postal service, have been kept in the
The company's plans include:
* Giving customers the choice of a priority overnight
delivery and non-priority service
* Getting posties off bikes and into vehicles
* Closing specialist Post Shops and putting them in another
* Post will now be delivered at least three days a week in
towns and cities and five days a week for rural addresses.
However, there will still be a "premium service" six days a
Cullen said the financial position of the traditional
business had "deteriorated to a point where it would be
irresponsible not to take action."