NZ Post bosses are assuring communities that postal services will still be available where the last of its 79 shops close - though being able to pay car registrations or power bills will be reviewed every year.
NZ Post is closing shops but partnering with local businesses to keep services available, while the Government looks at 'regional hubs' for postal and banking services.
Acting chair Jackie Lloyd and chief executive David Walsh appeared before Parliament's economic development, science and innovation committee this morning and explained why the last NZ Post shops will close in the next few years.
Lloyd said 939,000 fewer letters were being sent every week, and that side of the business continued to decline by 10 to 14 per cent every year, costing NZ Post $30 million to $35 million.
"We forecast in the next four years, the number of letters will halve.'
Walsh said every partnership with a local business would include all the existing postal services, as well as the ability to pay bills such as car registrations and power bills.
But the bill payment capability - which is declining in a similar way to letters - will be re-evaluated every year and could be cut if it ends up costing NZ Post too much money.
Partnering with local businesses often improved postal services, with longer opening hours and more convenient locations, Walsh said.
Closing standalone branches should not come as a surprise as it has been part of NZ Post's strategy for five years - and it had affected people's jobs.
"About 1500 to 2000 people have had their jobs change or moved on to a new career," Walsh said.
Lloyd added that NZ Post offered support in people transitioning to new careers.
"It's a very difficult time for many of those staff who, unfortunately through circumstance, their jobs may change or disappear. Support from NZ Post is very good, excellent in fact ... when they look for further employment."
Walsh said NZ Post had saved $90 million through the changes that have been made, including less frequent delivery - urban deliveries every other day and rural deliveries five times a week.
The tone of the committee became more jovial when National MP Melissa Lee asked why NZ Post had cancelled its Secret Santa programme.
"Is NZ Post the Grinch of Christmas?" Lee asked in good humour.
Walsh said he could not say why the programme had been scrapped, but replied: "We believe in Christmas very strongly."