Mail concerns voiced back in June ignored

Concerns about undelivered mail in parts of Queenstown were voiced by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to New Zealand Post five months ago but were ignored, it was revealed yesterday.

At a meeting called by the state-owned enterprise yesterday, councillors and council representatives voiced displeasure with postal services to three areas, Fernhill, Arrowtown and Lake Hayes Estate, after tens of thousands of undelivered items of mail were discovered last week.

The company requested the meeting on Friday to offer an apology and assure customers of the Wakatipu it would do its best to rectify delivery problems.

Queenstown police said they discovered up to 20,000 pieces of undelivered mail in a storage unit in Arrowtown and in the Frankton home of a contracted postal delivery woman.

Alleged mail thefts began in September last year. The woman is to appear at the Queenstown District Court on December 3.

Yesterday it was revealed that in June, the council had notified NZ Post that ratepayers in the Fernhill area had not been receiving or paying their rates, and indicating a problem with mail delivery.

QLDC communications manager Meaghan Miller said the response from NZ Post was poor.

"Either we didn't get a response when we advised there was missing mail, or, two, we were told it was our problem and they asked us to investigate it."

NZ Post national heartland manager Dean Horsup agreed the company's response had been too slow and customers had been let down.

Mr Horsup said the information taken from the call centre would have been given to "operations people" who had not reacted fast enough, or at all.

Having a more localised call centre was not practical for the company, he said.

Council finance general manager Stewart Burns, Sunshine Bay Residents Association chairman Robert Freer, Fernhill representative councillor Mel Gazzard and Arrowtown councillor Lex Perkins were at yesterday's meeting along with NZ Post's communications manager Michael Tull and Mr Horsup.

The council also asked for reassurances that Fernhill, Lakes Hayes Estate and Arrowtown residents would not have to deal with penalties, such as for late bill payments, on their own.

"There are still a few issues that will flow on from it," she said.

The company indicated it would get undelivered mail out to residents by early next week, but was unable to confirm yet if other areas had been affected.