The Postal Workers Union has called on New Zealand Post to reverse what it says is a policy of "holding back standard mail which has been processed and ready for delivery".
John Maynard, the president, southern district, of the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa, made the comment while reacting to the announcement that New Zealand Post had made an after-tax profit of $71 million in the six months to December 31.
A New Zealand Post spokesman denied Maynard's claims.
"New Zealand Post does not hold back standard post mail that has been processed and is ready for delivery," the spokesman said.
"Our processes are designed to prioritise FastPost over standard post because FastPost is a premium service with a next working day delivery target. Standard post has a delivery target of three working days," he said.
New Zealand Post chief executive Brian Roche said the improved result could be largely attributed to a $32m reduction in spending that more than offset a $12m drop in revenue.
Maynard agreed with Roche that the company had definitely reduced expenditure but questioned the mail delays.
"New Zealand Post's mail 'hold-over' policy is not saving money," Maynard said.
"It is providing further incentives for mail senders to switch to alternative means of communication, including a private mail delivery company."
He said New Zealand Post was trying to ensure fastpost mail arrived at its destination before standard mail and then require mail senders to pay more for the fastpost service. But the company was also regularly failing its own fastpost "target" of next-day delivery.
"Six weeks after beginning to collect its own statistics on significant amounts of fastpost mail being delivered outside New Zealand Post's own delivery promise, the union is not aware that any corrective action has been taken by the company in that time," Maynard said.
He said the "hold-over" of mail and the lack of concern by New Zealand Post about serious failures in its own delivery standards were of serious and increasing concern to members of the Postal Workers Union.
The $71m in the half year to December 31 was up 18.3 per cent on the same period in the previous year and the Government will receive an interim dividend of $2.5m from the state-owned enterprise.
Roche said the improved result could be largely attributed to a $32m reduction in spending that more than offset a $12m drop in revenue.
New Zealand Post's plans for the next three to five years were focused on finding cheaper ways to deal with falling mail volumes, he said.
Plans were announced last year to axe up to 2000 jobs over four years.
Different modes of mail delivery would be trialled over the next six months in preparation for the start of mail to urban addresses being delivered on alternate days next year.
Roche said growing the parcels and logistics business was also a top priority with work underway to develop new opportunities from the growing e-commerce parcels market domestically and internationally.
New Zealand Post also planned to reduce its property ownership, including owning fewer corporate Postshops, with more services hosted by local businesses.
- Fairfax Media