Post delivery changes not affecting poll

Confirmation New Zealand Post was changing mail delivery targets before the local body elections next month will not impact on voting.

Earlier this week, the state-owned enterprise said it was changing the national target time for standard post ''across town'' delivery from one day to three days, from October 7.

This was due to falling mail volumes prompting the consolidation of its mail processing network, which included the loss of 73 jobs from the Dunedin Mail Centre when it closes next year.

Enrolment Services national manager Murray Wicks told the Otago Daily Times the move would not affect local body elections with the postal ballot to close at noon, on Saturday, October 12.

NZ Post had kept the Electoral Commission ''fully briefed'' about the changes, he said.

Some people in cities might receive their postal ballots ''on day two and three rather than day one'', but changes would not affect voting papers being sent back, Mr Wicks said.

EPMU postal industry organiser Joe Gallagher said the move by NZ Post was a ''predictable result'' from closing half of its major mail processing centres.

NZ Post has proposed other cuts to its services, including reducing postal delivery to three days a week.

Despite some decline in the amount of mail NZ Post was processing, it remained profitable and ''these drastic cuts are unnecessary'', he said.

''New Zealand Post is a vital public service that millions of Kiwis rely on to stay connected to their families, their communities and their customers.''

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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