New Zealand Post is to cut about 500 full and part-time jobs by closing mail processing centres in Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin, and in satellite processing centres.
About 380 new jobs will be created at centres in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch which will be expanded, the company announced today.
Wellington would lose about 163 jobs, Hamilton about 129, Dunedin 73, and the satellite locations about 133. Palmerston North would get about 180 new jobs, Auckland 121 and Christchurch 75.
Further changes have not been ruled out.
"It is never easy to make these sorts of decisions when it impacts on people's jobs, but the economic reality is that New Zealand Post must increase the efficiency of its operations to remain viable," chief executive Brian Roche said.
"Not to make the necessary changes now would imperil a network which is a vital component of the New Zealand economy and community.
"This is the right thing to do to make sure we have a viable mail processing network providing service to all of New Zealand now and into the future."
The change was in response to the continuing decline in mail volumes with the number of pieces of mail being processed falling by nearly 200 million in the past decade. Mail volumes were declining at 8 per cent a year.
"This is a global phenomenon and we, like postal operators around the world, have to make adjustments," Roche said.
"We looked at all options and decided this plan will allow New Zealand Post to achieve savings on a meaningful scale while maintaining a high-quality service."
Processing mail at fewer centres would create significant reductions in overheads, especially costs for leasing and operating major facilities in multiple locations.
"As New Zealand Post and our customers change we'll continue to look at where our processing sites are and what jobs are needed to support a sustainable physical network.
''While there will be mail processing centres in three locations for the foreseeable future, in the longer term, as volumes continue to fall and changes in processes occur, further changes cannot be ruled out," Roche said.
The last major change to the processing network was a decade ago when the number of processing centres was cut from 26 to six, at a time when mail volumes were more than a billion a year.
The transfer of activities from the Otago/Southland, Oamaru, Invercargill, Gore, Queenstown/Wanaka, Nelson and Blenheim satellite sites to Christchurch is due to happen later in 2014.
The same timeline was given for the transfer of activities to Palmerston North from the Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Waipukurau, Taranaki/Eltham, Hawera, and Masterton satellite sites.
The transfer of activities from Dunedin to Christchurch, from Wellington to Manawatu, and from Hamilton to Auckland were to be phased during 2014.
- Fairfax Media