Missing mail claims top 300
GRANT BRYANT AND BROOKE GARDINER IN QUEENSTOWN
Another stash of missing mail has been recovered in Queenstown.
At the same time, it has emerged that Wakatipu residents lodged a whopping 317 complaints about missing mail with New Zealand Post between January 1, 2010, and November 16, 2012.
Five NZ Post-issue mail trays and two carry bags containing hundreds of items of undelivered mail have been found hidden in bushes on the property where a former NZ Post contractor lived.
Two weeks ago, Philippa Lynette Lindsay, 32, faced a representative charge of theft in a special relationship between September 2010 and November 2012. She entered no plea in the Queenstown District Court.
It is alleged she stole about 17,000 items of mail and kept them at her home and at a lock-up in Arrowtown.
On Friday, a former flatmate of Lindsay found another stash of mail hidden in the garden on the property they once shared.
Senior Constable Chris Blackford said the male flatmate had handed the mail in.
Police had already searched the house and property but the extra mail was believed to have been located down a steep bank in thick undergrowth, Mr Blackford said.
The man who handed the mail in said Lindsay had been "kicked out" out of the flat the day the massive mail theft had been discovered and police had executed a search warrant on the property.
NZ Post communications manager Michael Tull said the company expected police to release the unopened mail by Wednesday so it could be sorted and delivered.
It was not yet known what condition the mail was in but it was found outdoors more than five weeks after the initial haul was found inside the postie's home.
NZ Post was appealing to anyone with information about the whereabouts of any more mail to come forward.
"There is an uncomfortable knowledge that there may still be mail out there.
"From the beginning, there's only been one person who has known where the mail is hidden and that person has not been providing information to us or police," Mr Tull said.
NZ Post would deliver the mail in the same way it hand-delivered the 17,000-odd items of mail to more than 1360 homes in Fernhill, Arrowtown and Lake Hayes earlier this month, Mr Tull said.
Meanwhile, figures obtained by The Southland Times under the Official Information Act reveal there were 317 complaints about missing mail spread over 2010 to 2012.
In the same period, there were 101 official complaints relating to the Fernhill and Sunshine Bay areas.
Postal Workers Union president John Maynardwanted to know why the company failed to act until last month.
"That's a lot of dissatisfied customers."
Alarm bells should have sounded as far back as almost three years ago, Mr Maynard said.
- The Southland Times
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