Lake Hayes Estate Community Association secretary Barbara
Smith says residents are at risk of losing their New
Zealand Post service if arson attacks on the estate post
box continue. Photo by James Beech.
Lake Hayes Estate residents fear they will lose their
mail collection service if the community's only post box is set
on fire for a third time.
Up to six items of mail were found to be destroyed when a New
Zealand Post courier cleared the post box, on Hope Ave, near
Nerin Sq, on Tuesday. A further 30 items were found deposited
on top of the ashes, and were able to be mailed to the
The courier found the box had been the target of a second
arson attack on Wednesday morning.
About 15 mail items were recovered and as many as 10 were
destroyed. Of the remainder, four were partly damaged and NZ
Post will attempt to contact the senders.
Two small parcels also showed damage and will be forwarded to
the recipients with an explanatory letter.
Community association chairman Kevin Burdon said yesterday he
was "ropeable" and association members were "devastated" to
learn New Zealand Post had a "three strikes and you're out"
policy when it came to wilfully-damaged post boxes.
Mr Burdon said association members sought to publicise the
problem and they asked parents to supervise their children to
make sure the post box was not vandalised again.
"We worked for 12 months to get it. There's more than 430
houses there and you'd have to drive to Frankton to post a
letter otherwise," Mr Burdon said.
The $2000 box was installed by NZ Post in 2009 at the request
of the association.
NZ Post spokesman Keith FitzPatrick, of Wellington, said
yesterday the company would regret the removal of the
collection service and box. However, it would not tolerate
the wilful destruction of the public's mail, he added.
"It's an unfortunate case of one of our street boxes being
the subject of two mindless attacks.
"We are saying to the community association, it's
disappointing, but if it continues to be the target, we will
"The actions of a reckless individual, or individuals, are
jeopardising the service."
Destroying personal mail was "despicable behaviour", Mr
The only way customers could know if their mail was among the
six items destroyed would be to contact the intended
NZ Post was aware Lake Hayes Estate was a growing community,
Queenstown police will be advised and residents were urged to
be vigilant and report suspicious activity to the police.
The Postal Services Act had provision for penalties. However,
the general auspices of the Crimes Act would be appropriate
and charges would be a matter for the police, Mr FitzPatrick