Editorial: How often do we need mail delivered?

By Kim Gillespie

1 comment

Twenty-odd years ago I used to love the daily trip to the mailbox to see if there were any letters for me.

Sounds like a futile exercise these days, but back then people actually sat down and wrote to each other with pen and paper.

Now, as a newspaper editor, I must be one of the few to still receive letters on a daily basis. And I mean letters, not bills or flyers or any of those other things that keep posties busy.

Not that the letters I receive are overly personal (and to be honest, the personal ones tend to be a bit vicious), but there can't be too many other people getting regular written correspondence.

And therein lies the problem.

New Zealand Post is proposing to drop the number of mail delivery days to three a week.

It has been reported there are 265 million fewer items posted each year compared with 2002.

And this is expected to keep dropping in the next five years.

Be honest, how many letters have you written in the past year? Not counting Christmas cards. And even the festive missive seems awfully old fashioned these days.

But it's not fair to say everyone's online and there's no need for mail. The Postal Workers Union says about 30 per cent of the population does not have internet access - meaning 70 per cent does. But according to www.internetworldstats.com a whopping 88 per cent of us are online. I presume the actual figure lies somewhere in between.

Either way, let's not forget there are plenty of people who do rely on our postal service to connect them with the outside world.

But do they need mail every day?

Any thing that needs to be sent and received urgently should probably go by courier anyway.

If a six-day delivery schedule is not sustainable, then options like fewer delivery days should be considered.

Hundreds of jobs would be on the line, so a union suggestion that a compromise seeking greater "company flexibility" while avoiding a major cut in delivery days should be looked at seriously.

And cutting the number of delivery days in half does seem drastic.

Again, perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between.

What do you think?

Email editor@dailypost.co.nz, text DP then your message to 021 241 4568, or write to editor, PO Box 1442, Rotorua.

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