Security checks delay delivery of mail

CHE BAKER AND BROOKE GARDINER
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012

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Postal union upset over missing mail

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Finally, after almost two years of waiting for the mail to arrive in Queenstown, it has started trickling in.

New Zealand Post communications manager Michael Tull said postal workers tried yesterday to hand-deliver bundles of mail that had been missing to more than 1360 homes in Fernhill, Arrow town, and Lake Hayes.

However, tight security protocols, which meant they needed identification from residents before the mail could be handed over to avoid identity theft, had been more time-consuming than anticipated, Mr Tull said.

Every household affected by the alleged theft received a note in their mailbox if they were not home, he said.

Police had released up to 17,000 unopened letters and parcels out of the 20,000 items recovered at the home and in a commercial storage unit of a 32-year-old woman postie, who was arrested and charged with theft last month.

The woman, who has interim name suppression, will appear in Queenstown District Court today.

The New Zealand Postal Workers Union has waded in with concerns over Queenstown's missing mail and New Zealand Post's handling of the matter.

Last week, a fortnight after The Southland Times first asked, New Zealand Post confirmed the postie had been contracted only in those areas. Earlier, the agency said she had relieved in others short term.

On Tuesday, Postal Workers Union president John Maynard sent a letter to New Zealand Post outlining the union's concerns and questioning why the agency had not responded to questions repeatedly asked by The Southland Times.

"As a union we are very concerned and we are challenging the company. We are very upset with the lack of respect they've shown to customers making complaints . . . it appears they've been ignored or fobbed off."

Mr Maynard said the union and its members also held grave concerns about the damage the matter had done to the reputation of postal workers who had to deal with the public fallout and the company. "This is a disaster. This is very bad and we are really concerned about it."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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