Hutt post boxes to be given the chop

The Hutt News - - NEWS -

New Zealand Post is re­mov­ing nearly half of its mail boxes from cen­tral Lower Hutt sub­urbs be­cause of what it con­sid­ers low us­age.

From June 1, 31 post boxes will go from Wai­whetu, Woburn, Water­loo, Lower Hutt, Kel­son, Nae­nae, Bel­mont and Korokoro, leav­ing 37 still in place.

A NZ Post com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser, Sarah Austen-Smith, said the post­ing boxes to be re­moved are re­ceiv­ing fewer than 30 let­ters a day. They were stick­ered three weeks ago with a no­tice ad­vis­ing peo­ple of an in­ten­tion to re­move them, with ad­vice on where the near­est al­ter­na­tive post­ing box could be found.

For­mer Bel­mont Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Graeme Ross has sent in a let­ter of protest about the pending re­moval of the post box from Ground­sell Cres, at the bot­tom of the hill sub­urb.

Ross said the sticker no­tice said peo­ple could use post boxes at 667 and 700 Hutt Rd, but the num­bers on that road don’t go as high as that. [NZ Post has since said the no­tice was sup­posed to have stated 636 High St – by the af­ter hours med­i­cal cen­tre – and 700 High St, about 3.5km away from Ground­sell Cres].

Ross said not ev­ery­one who lives in hill­side sub­urbs needs to go reg­u­larly to shops/ su­per­mar­kets and thereby go near a post­ing box.

‘‘ A lo­cal post­ing box is an amenity worth hav­ing.

‘‘Grounsell Cres runs par­al­lel to State High­way 2 and I feel it would take less than five min­utes for some­one to drive in the Grounsell Cres south­ern en­try, clear the post­ing box and then leave via the north­ern exit.’’

Austen-Smith said NZ Post needed to ad­just its net­work to ac­com­mo­date a rapid decline in let­ter vol­umes, and the cor­re­spon­dent growth in its par­cel busi­ness.

‘‘Ki­wis are send­ing 50-100 mil­lion fewer let­ters a year, a trend pre­dicted to con­tinue.

‘‘It is not vi­able to keep and main­tain post boxes in close prox­im­ity to other NZ Post ser­vices when they are not be­ing well used.’’

The Ground­sell Cres box is fur­ther­est away from an al­ter­na­tive box ‘‘but due to par­tic­u­larly low vol­umes is still be­ing re­moved,’’ Austen-Smith said.

‘‘All the other boxes stick­ered for re­moval in Lower Hutt have an al­ter­na­tive box within a few hun­dred me­tres.’’

NZ Post took into ac­count other fac­tors, such as whether there was a large re­tire­ment vil­lage of a hos­pi­tal nearby.

Hutt News re­ported in April

that Post Shops and Ki­wibanks were closing in Nae­nae and Wainuiomata, with United Video out­lets in those shop­ping cen­tres tak­ing over post func­tions on a fran­chise ba­sis (and Wainuiomata United Video also han­dling some Ki­wibank func­tions).

The only other time NZ Post has re­moved post boxes in cen­tral Lower Hutt was in May last year where four boxes were taken out. There are no fur­ther re­movals planned.

The mail­ing box in Ground­sell Cres­cent, Bel­mont, one of more than 30 that NZ Post will re­move from cen­tral Lower Hutt.

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