Mail delivery faces axe

New Zealand Post is proposing to reduce mail delivery to as little as three days a week to cope with falling volumes.

Communications Minister Amy Adams today released a proposal from the state postal service. It had told her that ''it considers changes are needed to ensure a sustainable postal service in the 21st Century''.

As well as cutting the number of days mail is delivered to a minimum of three days a week, the proposal included introducing more self-service kiosks.

''During the last 10 years mail volumes have dropped considerably, with 265 million fewer items being posted each year compared to 2002. Within five years, mail volumes are forecast to be nearly half what they were in 2002,'' Adams said

''In light of those significant reductions in mail volume, New Zealand Post is seeking to make changes to the Universal Service Obligations it is bound by.''

Adams said the changes would require Government approval and public feedback would be sought.

"In deciding whether to accept or reject the proposal or seek to negotiate a compromise, I will look to balance the interests of postal users with the need to ensure a financially-viable postal service."

Minimum service requirements for New Zealand Post are set out in the deed of understanding it signed with the Crown in 1998. The deed has not been significantly reviewed since it was signed, Adams said.