Hutt post boxes to be given the chop
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.