NZ Post contractor arrested for theft
The theft of thousands of mail items from Fernhill residents has been described as a violation for the victims.
Hundreds of Queenstown residents whose mail has mysteriously gone missing during the past two years could finally have it delivered after police located thousands of letters and parcels at the residence of a NZ Post postal delivery contractor on Friday.
A Queenstown woman, 32, who was contracted to NZ Post to deliver mail in the Fernhill area was arrested on Friday as the result of a continuing investigation by Queenstown police and NZ Post. She has been charged with theft.
Detective Grant Miller said a search of the woman's Frankton Rd property netted hoards of mail which was found stashed around the large property. Some was opened.
Fernhill and Sunshine Bay Residents Association chairman Robbie Freer said residents had been violated and put through a lot of unnecessary stress and he hoped the woman would be held accountable.
"It's been an invasion of people's privacy. If people have been hit with late payment fees, they should be getting on to the police. Reparation should be part of her sentence . . . why should Joe Bloggs be penalised for her crimes."
Mr Freer said that as well as incurring late fees, missing mail could also create some embarrassing situations for victims.
"A lot of people are probably getting family members thinking they're ignorant if they've sent letters or parcels and never had a response or thank you."
Fernhill Eight to Late convenience store owners Gail and
Andy Pickering said customers had been complaining about mail going missing in recent months.
Mrs Pickering said the missing mail had caused residents headaches, with some charged late fees for invoices never received.
Association committee member Jack Stevens said he never got a rates bill last year.
A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesperson said the council was aware of missing rates invoices in the Fernhill/Sunshine Bay area. Ratepayers were asked to report the matter to NZ Post and late payment fees were waived on a case by case basis.
NZ Post spokesman Michael Tull said an investigation was launched after complaints from the public.
Police were then informed, he said.
"This is quite clearly a betrayal of trust. It's something we don't have any tolerance for and it's quite a rare occurrence, especially on this scale."
Police would like any residents of the Fernhill area who believe they are missing mail to contact NZ Post customer service on 0800 501 501.
The Southland Times