NZ Post is looking to set up "access points" in places like petrol stations and supermarkets, after revealing widespread cost-cutting that could see up to 20 NZ Post Shops and Kiwibank outlets close.

A number of New Zealand Post workers are set to lose their jobs as the company looks to slash costs, after posting a $40 million loss across its retail network.

NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche would not say how many shops would close down, but said it was likely to be fewer than 20, and it may lead to more "access points".

"There will be some lay-offs this year, but they won't be dramatic," he said, adding the company would look to redeploy staff to other roles within the company where it could.

The move was sparked by falling mail volumes as more people used the internet.

Customers expected more, were time sensitive and did not like queuing. The company needed to consider how it could best service those needs, Roche said.

Roche said NZ Post was planning to set up a "complete sweep of services" where customers could pay their bills, top up their mobile phones, post a letter or weigh and send a parcel.

"We envisage having self-service kiosks operating in a variety of areas in our shops and outside our shops.

"If you think about where communities engage, supermarkets are a focal point."

"That's the complete sweep of services and that's what we are going to trial over the course of this calendar year."

The initiative was already working well in other countries including the United Kingdom and France, he said.

Roche said there was no plan to relive the post office closures of the 1980s, and that there was a minimum number of outlets required around the country to provide post.

"The Government regulates that, it's just over 200 and currently we've got over 300 stores and, I think, another 600 outlets, so we're a long way from those standards," he said.

"We have to face the reality that we can't afford to continue to run the business the way it's currently run. It's not sustainable."

"We've got a problem, we have to work through it and we've got to work out where technology fits."

NZ Post's mail volumes were declining about 4 to 5 per cent a year, he said.

"We have to address that problem, if we have got less volume and the same level of fixed costs the two don't go well together."

NZ Post chairman Michael Cullen last month told a parliamentary commerce committee difficult trading conditions and a flat economy continued to negatively affect business.

"One of the issues is that Kiwibank has been staffed and organised on the assumption of very strong growth," Cullen told the committee.

"At any particular point in time its staffing is reflecting the anticipated needs for the growth of the next phase rather than its current service delivery profile. As a consequence its actual cost ratio is actually quite high by banking standards.

"This period of slow growth, which is going to be inevitable for Kiwibank over the next year or two, is probably an opportunity to address more firmly that issue of cost reduction within Kiwibank itself."