NZ Post closing last corporate-owned shops

New_Zealand_Post_Kiwibank_The_Palms_Shirley_2016New Zealand Post plans to close the last remaining corporate-owned post shops in the country and replace them with franchise operations.

The closures will impact 79 NZ Post Shop-KiwiBank locations and mark the final step in NZ Post’s long-running shift towards partnering with local businesses, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores.

“What NZ Post is continuing to do is to move to partner with local agencies to help us deliver postal services. This is not a new strategy, we have been working in this way in communities across the country for many years,” an NZ Post spokesperson told IR.

The news was first reported by Radio NZ on Tuesday, and much of the initial coverage focused on the purported negative impact of the closures on communities.

Simon Pleasants, the community association president in Johnsonville, one of the areas set to lose its standalone post shop, told Radio NZ that staff in other industries could hardly be expected to understand the ins and outs of the postal businesses.

“What are the regulations for sending a parcel to Taiwan, or Bhutan, or somewhere like that? Do the staff at the local Countdown know that?” he told Radio NZ.

“No, they’re not going to know that. They’re going to have to spend a lot of time looking things up and that’s not going to be a good service.”

An NZ Post spokesperson disputed the idea that the shift to franchise operations negatively impacts customers.

“Partnering with local businesses in this way is good for our customers, as these local businesses often have longer opening hours than traditional post shops, and are often in locations that are more convenient,” the spokesperson said.

“It works well for NZ Post as it allows us to stay in all these communities, and is more financially sustainable, and it works well for the businesses we partner with, who benefit from more customers coming through their doors to use postal services.”

NZ Post in August reported a $14 million year-on-year decline in net profit after tax in continuing operations for FY18, and a $39 million net loss in its core business, excluding Kiwi Group Holdings.

The state-owned postie attributed the result to an ongoing and significant letter volume decline.

NZ Post declined to say when the last corporate-owned post shop will close, saying that it looks at each location on a case-by-case basis and will inform staff before making any announcements.

However, it said there will be no changes to postal services until a suitable business is found, which, it noted, can take many months.

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