28 Nov 2017

Post Shop owner dumped by Kiwibank after robberies

8:24 pm on 28 November 2017

An Auckland Post Shop owner who survived three gunpoint robberies says he could go out of business after being dropped by Kiwibank.

The Post Shop in Mt Roskill.

The Post Shop in Mt Roskill. Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

Bhaksar Desai has run the Owairaka Post Shop for the past 12 years, but last week received a letter from Kiwibank saying they would be cancelling services due to security concerns.

The store has been robbed seven times in the past 12 years - the most recent was in August last year, when Mr Desai had a gun pointed at him.

He would not describe himself as brave but said he was gutsy, and he kept going back to work because he was passionate about his job.

But he said he felt targeted by Kiwibank's head office and questioned whether staff there would still be cancelling his services if they had endured seven robberies.

Bhaksar Desai with the letter he received from KiwiBank.

Bhaksar Desai with the letter he received from KiwiBank. Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

Mr Desai will no longer be able to use any of Kiwibank's services, which include banking, bill payments, domestic money orders, fines payments and 18+ card applications.

He will be able to keep PO Boxes and postal services at his store, but he said that was not nearly enough to keep him going. He tried to speak to Kiwibank about security in his store several times over the years, but described any efforts they have made as purely lip service.

A security guard was posted to the store for several days after a robbery in August, but he said they had not been there again until he received the letter from Kiwibank last week.

"After they served the notice to me on Wednesday evening they sent a security guard for the full day on Friday morning and then again on Monday."

But Mr Desai said there had been no one at the shop today.

Customers at the store said it would be extremely inconvenient to have the services cancelled. They all commented on the excellent service Mr Desai provided, saying he always went above and beyond.

In a statement, Kiwibank said it would not discuss specific safety concerns at the store but it recognised the impact the closure would have on the community.

"We cannot discuss these in detail due to commercial sensitivity but are working through these with the franchise owner."

The bank said it would also be removing its services from an Otara branch due to similar safety concerns.

Mr Desai is collecting signatures for a petition, which he said he would pass on to his MP Michael Wood.

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