Duty to deliver remains

By Ross Pringle

CONSIDER the last time you posted something.

Not a status update on a social media website but a letter, card, cheque or parcel.

It's telling that these days, when we talk of posting things, so many assume the topic is social media. It shows the extent to which technology has changed the way we communicate.

Of course, posting comments on social media is not how it has always been. Not so long ago if you wanted to get a message out, send an account or pay a bill, physically sending it in the mail was the only way to do so. Letters and cards were welcomed by their recipients, not just for the messages they contained but because of the thought and effort put into the communication.

Now staying in touch is as simple as a few clicks on your device of choice. Email, instant messaging, Skype and social media have all but made the letter redundant. All of which causes a problem for NZ Post, which has again raised the idea of reducing the frequency of deliveries.

The humble Post Office was one of the hubs of the community, and mail was the predominant means of communication, on a personal level and for business.

Cheques have become a thing of the past. Accounts are emailed or viewed online, there is internet banking, text alerts about balances and reminders for payments and electronic transfers and "bumping" phones to make payments or shift funds are ways that we now pay bills.

It poses a serious problem for NZ Post, which has seen the profitability of post decline dramatically, and potentially for those who rely on the day-to-day contact the mail service enables.

Nowhere is this more true than in rural areas such as those around Wanganui. In places where mobile signals are weak at best and internet connection is not always possible, the post is a lifeline to the outside world.

Humans are adept at coping with change and will do so when mail services are inevitably cut back, but internet and mobile service levels must be raised in tandem with the anticipated culling of daily post or those isolated areas exempted from the cutbacks.

Feedback: editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

- Wanganui Chronicle

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