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Guest post

Is NZ Post Telling Porkies?

I saw an Item on TV3’s Story the other night about a bunch of people living in a small rural pace called Karitane. They are having a problem with NZ Post. I normally avoid the MSM but this one caught my eye.

Their promo for the article:

“The small town of Karitane, north of Dunedin, is on the verge of revolution. Residents have always picked their mail up from the local dairy.

It means the town can collect their mail and socialise at the same time.

But now New Zealand Post wants to start delivering to people’s homes, much like the rest of New Zealand, and the town is not happy.

There’s also a problem: no one has letterboxes in Karitane, because no one has ever had their mail delivered.”

The people are quite justifiably angry that NZ Post wants to change a system that works well, into a standard mailbox drop. Something doesn’t smell right, and sadly, the journalists didn’t ask the right questions of NZ Post. Instead, they delivered a nice fluffy piece about village life in a small but lovely South Island town.

So let’s do what they should have done:

The issue, NZ Post wants to change from mail being left at the local dairy for people to pick up as a “care of” type set up. Let’s ignore the touchy feely of social things and stick to facts. NZ Post says they have a software issue that doesn’t allow for that to work anymore and has given them notice of changing to mailbox delivery.

The Facts:

NZ Post has been spending large sums of money in advertising lately on parcels etc the way YOU want. Customising your experience to suit YOUR needs, if you will. Big branding exercise at whatever $$$ cost.

NZ Post can deliver mail to thousands of people living apartment buildings, University hostels, retirement villages and so on. So delivery to one dairy in a small town is a problem, really?

We all have compulsory post codes these days as required for electronic sorting or mail so it get to right place. Mail is then sorted manually for delivery by posties. Interestingly this is done for large apartment buildings without problems, where lots of people live at the same address.

Standard mail is on the decline as more communication is done via the internet; hence the change from 6 day delivery down to 3 as was rolled out last year. Correspondingly, more parcels are being delivered as more people buy stuff online, hence the move towards electric vehicles that carry parcels as well as mail. This will lead to a reduction in the number of contractors delivering parcels by the traditional van as a separate delivery service. A logical reaction to a changing market and a potential cost savings for NZ post reacting to a changing market.


The analysis:

You would think that dropping a whole bunch of mail to one address would be cheaper than sending someone to individual letterboxes. Remember too that mail is sorted into runs by hand not machine.

The reason given to the people of Karitane was a software glitch or issue. In the 21st century I am calling bullshit on that. I think the real reason is $$$$. Why would they spend so much money on advertising a customised service to then remove one that people were happy with?

The story article touched on one point briefly that may be the real issue. It was stated that the mail would be delivered in future by the rural delivery contractor. I suspect that currently the rural delivery contractor only deliver’s signed for mail and parcels and may very well be an uneconomic run without the rest of the mail. There may well be a postie for the mail to the dairy as well. So, perhaps one person could delivery both sets of mail and save costs.

This is where “story” should have done a little digging and dare I say it, investigation.


Questions they should have asked NZ Post:

– Why advertise a customised service when you want to remove one from people who are happy with the current arrangements that work well?

– How can the software work for mail delivery to large apartment building etc but not for a small town in rural Otago?

– Why would you increase someone’s workload and cost to deliver mail individually instead of a group drop off at the local dairy?

– Is the rural contractor’s run uneconomic with the extra mail? And or is someone else going to lose a job as well?


If the “software glitch” is real just for this case, why doesn’t NZ Post just fix it? Or are their systems so inflexible they can’t do the job properly? (if so why not spend less on fluffy advertising and more on core systems)

Is this a case of bully the little people, because you can?

On another level the MSM seem to go for a good story but don’t seem to have the nous to provide real answers to real issues, or ask the hard questions. Perhaps they don’t want to upset their advertising revenue by doing their job properly.

From my perspective, I think NZ Post is saving costs here; the rest is smoke and mirrors. I’m happy for NZ Post to prove me wrong.


– Gavin

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