Editorial : Mail not getting through

Last updated 13:24 05/02/2013

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News that New Zealand Post hopes to slash postal deliveries from the existing six-day-a-week set-up to just three days a week will be especially concerning for people in rural areas and many of our elderly folk.

Goodness knows what effect mail cuts will have on the elderly, who are yet to embrace the online world that is making postal mail redundant. They would still get their mail, but not every day. And what about the disruption any cuts would cause to rural customers and the rural contractors who deliver mail and other products around the province?

Farmers and all rural residents rely on regular mail deliveries and not all of them have access to fast and reliable internet connections, like broadband, to switch easily to the digital world.

So where would mail cuts leave them? Getting parcels and mail by courier is an option but an expensive one that few would use regularly.

Farmers and others on rural deliveries would naturally be quick to resist any separate rural delivery fee and NZ Post has promised that it won't make rural customers second-class citizens. How they avoid that happening is not quite so clear.

Of course, no-one can blame NZ Post with its approach because chief executive Brian Roche is well aware that the fall in mail volumes is irreversible. The state-owned organisation is a business that, like so many others, needs to change and take drastic measures to survive.

It can't keep pace with the changing world and ways of instant communication that most of us expect and demand. Email, social media and online dealings are not the way of the future - they are already here, making the role of our posties almost unnecessary.

NZ Post's future, quite clearly, isn't about retaining mail deliveries six days a week because the numbers just don't stack up. If mail volumes drop much faster than the predicted 6 to 8 per cent a year, then the planned cuts could come in next year.

Those cuts would also mean big job losses.

Now it's up to Communications Minister Amy Adams to decide on any changes after six weeks for public consultation.

Have your say on the proposal by making a submission. Best to do it by email. "Snail mail" is a thing of the past; at least, it's heading that way, and fast.

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- The Marlborough Express

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