By SHELLEY TOPP
A decision to remove eight of Rangiora’s post boxes puts New Zealand Post in breach of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Act, a union official says.
Under the act SOE’s must have regard for the interests of the communities in which they operate, says John Maynard, President of the Postal Workers’ Union.
The SOE’s decision to remove post boxes during the middle of a postal vote local body election shows how little regard they have for their customers, he says.
The decision has also angered many Rangiora residents.
In response to this Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey has organised a public meeting with New Zealand Post support leader, Ross Newton at the Rangiora RSA tomorrow (Friday).
New Zealand Post’s decision is part of a nationwide plan to move post boxes to high-foot-traffic areas such as outside supermarkets.
“More and more we are locating these in areas where people go for their day to day activities, like shopping for groceries, so they can post their mail at the same time,” says a New Zealand Post spokesperson.
In Rangiora eight post boxes have been removed and six relocated to outside the PostShop in High Street, Pak’nSave in Southbrook Road, Countdown in Ivory Street, The Warehouse in High Street, New World in Good Street, and Rangiora High School in East Belt.
No plans exist to remove post boxes from other North Canterbury towns, the spokesperson says.
“But we can’t rule out changes in the future.”
More than 1400 post boxes have been removed nationwide by the SOE since 2008.
Grey Power North Canterbury president Miles Jackson says they were told last year that some post boxes would be removed but were given assurances that others would be moved nearby to higher foot-traffic areas.
“They appear to have done that,” he says.
“We can’t argue against the downturn.”
However, the removal of the post box outside Rangiora’s Bainswood on Victoria Resthome and Hospital in Victoria Street, has upset residents and staff.
The clinical nurse manager, Jo Fraser, says New Zealand Post’s lack of consultation around the removal was poor.
“This does affect the elderly, particularly those in units,” she says.
They have now established an internal post system where residents can drop their mail in a box and it is posted by a senior staff member the next day.
The New Zealand Post spokesperson says letter volumes have virtually halved in the past decade.
“In 2006, more than a billion letters went through our network compared with 578m in the year to June.”
This means that post boxes are being used less which has enforced a relocation review to try to maximise their use.
Letter volumes are falling but parcel volumes are increasing.
“It is a growth area in our business which is why we are working hard to meet customer demand.”
This includes a controversial television advertising campaign starring Game of Thrones star Charles Dance and New Zealand dance star Parris Goebel.
The spokesperson would not say how much the advertising campaign had cost the state-owned enterprise.