Mail theft victims demand apology

Identity theft is now a key concern of Fernhill and Sunshine Bay residents who expect to get piles of undelivered mail sent to them in the next few weeks.

Residents drafted a list of demands at the community association's annual meeting on Monday night and will officially put them to NZ Post today.

At a meeting held at the Queenstown Lakes District Council on Monday, NZ Post senior staff members offered Fernhill/Sunshine Bay Community Association chairman Robbie Freer the opportunity to raise any concerns aired at the AGM.

NZ Post is in damage control after a postie was charged over the theft of up to 20,000 mail items from the area over 18 months.

Mr Freer said while everyone was furious about the theft and length of time it had taken NZ Post to resolve ongoing complaints about missing mail, residents were now focused on the distribution of recovered mail.

The committee had identified four key expectations they hoped NZ Post would seriously consider, he said.

They want a public apology notice printed in local newspapers and an official form delivered to all residents so those who have been disadvantaged can lodge claims with NZ Post. Residents also want to know how recovered post will be mailed out.

"We want them to publicly admit they stuffed up . . . and we know that 0800 number doesn't work given the number of complaints they've had and what they have done about it which is absolutely nothing," Mr Freer said.

Given the threat of identity theft, the last thing the residents wanted was large bundles of mail, dating back over more than a year, being dropped into mailboxes all over the area, he said.

"It needs to be signed for so we can be sure the right person gets the mail . . . we want people to have to produce photo identification," Mr Freer said.

Given the transient nature of Fernhill and Sunshine Bay's population, the association was also keen to hear how NZ Post would deal with the mail of residents who no longer lived in the area and, in many cases, in New Zealand.

"What's the point in dropping off mail when people have left six months ago?"

The residents had already been through enough and redirecting mail which had not been delivered when it should have been should not be their problem, he said.

"It's become a New Zealand-wide joke. The first thing people say to me is ‘Have you lost any more mail lately?'," he said.

While some could laugh it off, the reality of losing mail over such a long period of time could cause heartbreak in the lead-up to Christmas this year for many residents, he said.

"A lot of people will have mail turn up . . . things like bereavement cards, birthday cards, invites . . . they're going to turn up and probably open some old wounds for people who've got on with their lives and grieving in some cases."

The Southland Times