Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Mail security taken 'very seriously' - NZ Post

NZ Post says it takes the security of mail very seriously, after a number of incidents involving postal deliveries. Photo / File
NZ Post says it takes the security of mail very seriously, after a number of incidents involving postal deliveries. Photo / File

New Zealand Post is reassuring customers across the country their post is safe, following a number of incidents where mail has gone undelivered, dumped or stolen.

The postal agency tonight moved to clamp down on fears around the delivery of mail, saying it takes the security of mail "very seriously".

It comes after a series of incidents in recent weeks - involving both posties and members of the public - which have left people concerned over their mail.

Today, Billie May Graham, 22, was sentenced to six months' home detention after stealing letters from mailboxes and using credit cards she found inside them to fund her methamphetamine addiction.

Yesterday, a Wellington postie was sacked and referred to the police following the non-delivery of mail in Maupuia, in the Miramar Peninsula, which included a number of local body election voter packs.

Thousands of items were discovered last month dumped instead of being delivered to Maupuia addresses.

NZ Post has since delivered the missing mail to the intended addresses, with a letter of apology.

Meanwhile, a number of streets in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn did not receive their local body election voter packs - forcing residents there to require special voting papers to cast their vote in last weekend's elections.

Those affected included Auckland Council's election planning manager.

However, NZ Post remains adamant it was not a postal delivery fault.

"We investigated this thoroughly, and strongly believe it was not a postal delivery issue and that voting papers had been delivered as normal," a spokeswoman said.

"The reason why the voter packs were not received has not been determined."

NZ Post say once they complete a delivery, their obligation is fulfilled.
NZ Post say once they complete a delivery, their obligation is fulfilled.

In February last year, a postie was sacked after a stash of almost 2000 items - amounting to around four week's of mail - was found at his house. He was supposed to deliver the mail to homes in Helensville and Parakai in west Auckland.

The man had been taking it home each day, planning to deliver it the following day, but instead it piled up, NZ Post said at the time.

And in April 2013, Queenstown postie Philippa Lynette Lindsay apologised in court to her former employers and residents of the popular resort town for stealing more than 21,000 items of mail.

Over a period of 17 months Lindsay, who was supposed to deliver the mail to homes in Wakatipu, hoarded the mail at her house.

The letters included medical certificates, medical appointments and results, final demands for bill payments, invoices, and academic certificates, as well as letters to young children, birthday presents and gifts.

Police discovered the huge haul - of which 1577 items had been opened.

Lindsay was sentenced to one year and five months' in prison, and ordered to pay $30,000 in NZ Post and $354 to affected residents in reparation.

In a statement to the Herald , NZ Post said it takes the security of mail "very seriously".

However, it also encouraged people to take steps to safeguard their mail to minimise the risk of theft after delivery.

"This includes regular clearances of the letterbox, having a locked letterbox, or considering using a PO Box," a spokeswoman advised.

"If we suspect that theft after delivery is happening in an area, the local delivery team is notified and asked to remain vigilant.

"If any discarded mail is found, it is sent to customers with a letter of explanation and suggestions for keeping mail secure after delivery.

"Ultimately once we complete the delivery, our obligation is fulfilled and theft becomes a matter for the police."

In cases involving staff members, NZ Post said it deals with such incidents "in a consistent and thorough way". The spokeswoman pointed to the Wellington postie as an example of NZ Post's serious handling of an employee found to be intervering with the delivery of mail.

NZ Post was unable to provide figures on how many posties have been disciplined for tampering or stealing mail in the last three years, or how many incidents of outside tampering it has investigated in recent years.

- NZ Herald

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