Cut to mail delivery days'inevitable'

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 15:07 30/01/2013

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A New Zealand Post proposal to reduce mail deliveries to a minimum three days a week is part of the inevitable march from paper-based information delivery to electronic, says Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Brian Dawson.

"We want it all ways," Mr Dawson said.

"We demand modern means of communication but also the luxury of six-day postal services."

It was a business reality that NZ Post had to address a steady decrease in postal volumes, Mr Dawson said.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams yesterday said NZ Post had asked the Government to relax its service obligations. This meant being able to reduce mail deliveries from six days a week to three, and replacing some postal outlets with self-service kiosks.

Ms Adams said 265 million fewer items were posted each year than 10 years ago, and in five years volumes would have halved from what they were since 2002.

Mr Dawson said fewer deliveries would mean more delays in the postal service, making it even less popular.

Some businesses would suffer, he acknowledged, especially those that resisted modern communication methods like electronic invoicing and bill payment.

Rural Women New Zealand national president Liz Evans of the Waihopai Valley conceded that mail volumes were dropping but said it was regrettable that deliveries would be reduced.

The Government consulted Rural Women about the changes, which it recognised would hit rural areas, Mrs Evans said.

Already, remote regions in Marlborough, including the Awatere Valley, received mail only three days a week.

Mail-order businesses would be especially hard-hit by proposed changes, as would people with no access to computers or reluctant to use the internet, she said.

Grey Power Marlborough president Colin Draper had mixed feelings about reduced mail deliveries.

He said 10 per cent to 15 per cent of Grey Power's 4500 Marlborough members did not have access to email so were being left behind by the trend towards electronic communication.

On the other hand, the organisation could save postage by emailing rather than posting newsletters.

The generation that did not use computers was taking up computer training, and being slowly replaced, Mr Draper said.

He thought older members would learn to live with less frequent mail deliveries but hoped the proposal was not the thin edge of the wedge.

Submissions on the NZ Post proposal close on March 12.

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- The Marlborough Express

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