Three-day mail run could suit farm­ers

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Farm­ers could prob­a­bly live with a ru­ral postal de­liv­ery three or four days a week, says Fed­er­ated Farm­ers pres­i­dent Bruce Wills.

Those want­ing to keep a six­day ser­vice might have to pay for the ex­tra days, he said.

State- owned en­ter­prise NZ Post is in dis­cus­sions with the fed­er­a­tion and Ru­ral Women NZ as the com­pany awaits the Gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to its re­quest for a re­view of the 1998 Deed of Un­der­stand­ing.

This deed stip­u­lates NZ Post must main­tain six-day-a-week de­liv­ery to most of the 1.9 mil­lion de­liv­ery points in New Zealand and op­er­ate a net­work of no fewer than 880 out­lets.

The com­pany has 220,000 reg­is­tered ru­ral cus­tomers, served by 540 Ru­ral Post con­trac­tors with 579 de­liv­ery con­tracts.

It op­er­ates 600 Ru­ral Post de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles, which in­clude vans, utes, cars, trucks and ‘‘the odd bus and boat’’. Daily they travel 96,000 kilo­me­tres.

In a toughly worded let­ter to State-owned En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Tony Ryall ear­lier this year, NZ Post chair­man Sir Michael Cullen said 2012 was crunch time for the cap­i­tal- strapped SOE, and cost-cut­ting and new prod­ucts could no longer counter rapidly and ir­re­versibly fall­ing mail vol­umes.

His re­quest for a re­view is be­ing worked on by of­fi­cials at the Busi­ness In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment Min­istry.

There is no word on when a rec­om­men­da­tion might emerge from the min­istry, but process would re­quire it to first go to the min­is­ter, then to a Cab­i­net com­mit­tee and then out for pub­lic sub­mis­sions.

A NZ Post spokesman said the SOE was keen to en­gage with the ru­ral sec­tor on its quest for de­liv­ery flex­i­bil­ity.

The ru­ral postal net­work had its own chal­lenges and re­quire­ments, which was why it had its own busi­ness, he said.

‘‘But we recog­nise you can’t ho­mogenise the ru­ral sec­tor, which has many dif­fer­ent strands and shades. We would an­tic­i­pate that Fed­er­ated Farm­ers and oth­ers will make sub­mis­sions.’’

Mr Wills said the fed­er­a­tion agreed with and un­der­stood NZ Post’s need to have the deed changed.

‘‘ It doesn’t make eco­nomic sense to continue six-day de­liv­ery.

‘‘More and more stuff is be­ing sent by email, in­clud­ing by farm­ers.

‘‘I would sug­gest that three or four-day de­liv­ery at some stage, maybe in two years, is just com­mon sense.’’

He said some farm­ers might have an is­sue be­cause they wanted their news­pa­per de­liv­ered daily.

‘‘ Those who want six- day de­liv­ery may have to pay some­thing ex­tra.’’

NZ Post said that in the past 10 years mail vol­umes had fallen 20 per cent, and de­liv­ery points had in­creased by the same amount.

This was ‘‘an ir­re­versible and un­sus­tain­able trend’’.

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