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Government onside with mail delivery cuts

Tuesday 29 Jan 2013 5:41 p.m.

Several hundred posties will lose their jobs if the Government signs off a New Zealand Post proposal to cut the number of days they'll be delivering.

And it won't just be posties – office workers' jobs are also on the line if self-service kiosks are brought in to replace front-line staff.

Posties who trudge daily through our streets are fast being overtaken by technology. But 84-year-old Rob Burton says we need the post because it's the elderly that technology leaves behind.

“Some people find no difficulty keeping up with it. The elder conservatives do.”

Mail volume is dropping – 25 percent over the last decade, and falling fast. But Prime Minister John Key is in favour of changes being made.

“It makes sense for New Zealand Post to get itself sorted out.”

New Zealand Post is obliged under an agreement with the Government to make 95 percent of deliveries six days a week. It wants that halved – almost all deliveries done on just three days.

But more work in fewer days means far fewer jobs. The organisation’s 8000 employees will be slashed and chief executive Brian Roche expects a lot of people will go.

“We're talking in excess of several hundred people.”

He says significant savings - possibly millions - are needed for the service to continue, which is struggling to break even. And self-service kiosks in post offices would mean even more jobs will go.

The Government seems to be on side with New Zealand Post, but wants the public to have its say.

“We want them to start thinking about the last time that they got a letter that was so time sensitive that another day would make a difference,” Minister for Communications and Information Technology Amy Adams says.

But one thing missing in the proposal is how many jobs will be lost. New Zealand Post was cagey about the number and Ms Adams hadn't even been told. Several hundred would go by at least 2014, with no guarantee against more cuts in years to come.

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