Rural post charges 'already raw deal'

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 15:10 31/01/2013
Bev Higgins
EMMA ALLEN

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Babywear business owner Sally Peter, of Ward, says rural people already get a raw deal from New Zealand Post, and cutting deliveries will make matters worse.

The service is proposing to reduce its deliveries to a minimum of three days a week.

Mrs Peter, of Isolation Merino, said last year she started being charged extra for tracked parcels sent to rural delivery addresses.

"If I was sending something to 39 Scott St I would pay the standard cost but if it's going to RD3 I have to buy an extra sticker," she said.

She had to buy the tracked bags because parcels often went missing. For example, finished garments sent from a knitter in Marton recently failed to arrive. Addressed to Isolation, Ward, they eventually turned up stamped "not Timaru Hospital".

Many rural people ran home businesses so were being hit with the charge, Mrs Peter said. She understood NZ Post had promised the Government it would not charge for rural deliveries and this went against that agreement.

Her husband, Rob Peter, said their home was already on a three-day delivery and the family had to pick up their mail from their post box in Ward. The infrequent service meant by the time a bill was delivered and a cheque sent, the seven-day payment period was over so penalties were added.

Deirdre Hole, of the Flaxbourne Tearooms in Ward, said people sending tracked parcels to rural deliveries had to buy a rural ticket which cost an extra $2.80, on top of the cost of the courier bag.

The alternative was to use ordinary parcel post but this did not suit businesses, she said.

Alison MacKenzie, of Waihopai Downs Station in Waihopai Valley, said she would not be worried if five-day deliveries were cut to three.

"But it's nice to get the newspaper daily and that's one thing I'd miss."

Mrs MacKenzie grows peonies but did not use NZ Post to pick them up, instead delivering the flowers directly to refrigerated trucks because this was less expensive.

NZ Post communications manager Michael Tull said the $2.80 extra paid for tracked items sent to rural delivery addresses was introduced on March 1 last year to help cover the high costs of this service.

Many private contractors already charged extra for rural deliveries when the change was made and on-line retailers also added rural surcharges, he said.

The sender, not the recipient, paid for the rural ticket so it was not against the New Zealand Post commitment of not charging for rural delivery, Mr Tull said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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