Editorial: Times are a-changin'

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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Word that New Zealand Post wants to cut back postal deliveries to three days a week circulated first via email, then online news sites, social media, radio and television, and then morning newspapers.

The news will arrive in your letterbox any day now.

Or not.

Which, actually, is the point.

The communication age keeps moving, and for snail mail, it's moving on - fast.

Once upon a time, news that a postie wouldn't be going down every street every day would have been met with horror.

The postie was a lifeline to the world and his or her arrival of great moment in any day.

Just the act of walking to the mailbox, whether it contained a letter or not, was as necessary as breakfast.

Three-day-a-week delivery is still a proposal and public feedback is open, but the writing (ha) is on the wall. Well, actually, it's on the internet, or you can request a hard copy (aka paper) of the proposals and they will post them to you, as long as you ask for them on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

Most affected by this will be rural people and the elderly, more so if you fall into both categories.

Oh, and, potentially, newspapers.

It's a little early to tell how rural mail services will be affected. Drivers we contacted yesterday felt that it was too early to speculate.

A possible saviour are the many smaller parcels they now delivery, many probably generated, ironically, by the internet age. This extra bulk may mean that they still need to deliver more than three days a week. We will have to wait and see.

If they do cut back the rural runs, we will have to look at our options for newspaper delivery. A six-day-a-week paper delivered in the country three times a week doesn't quite work.

We will be making a submission of our own.

I'm not so sure about the impact on the elderly. They will still get their regular letters, but just not every day.

However, even that may be upsetting to some. Having supermarket pamphlets to read on the off-days might not compensate.

The reality is that change is coming and the declining use of snail mail makes it understandable.

In time, we may not have letterboxes at all, which will present another problem for us.

If there are no letterboxes, petty vandalism in Timaru will decrease dramatically.

Then what will we put in the police notebook?

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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