27 Nov 2018

Post shop closures: Regional hubs considered by govt

4:32 pm on 27 November 2018

The government is considering creating and potentially funding regional hubs that would provide banking and mail services.

Post shop in Johnsonville

New Zealand Post wants to shut its remaining 79 shops throughout the country. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Kiwibank last week announced the closure of three branches with Post Shops attached - in Petone, Stoke and Johnsonville.

Documents now show New Zealand Post wants to close its remaining 79 shops throughout the country, and franchise the services to retail outlets like supermarkets and pharmacies.

It comes as ANZ and BNZ also close branches in the regions.

Finance Minister Grant Roberston said fewer people were using postal services, and the government was looking at what it could do to make sure the regions remain connected - not only with post, but also banking.

"I think it's time for some different thinking here, and thinking about banking services as well. So we're actively investigating whether it's possible for the government to support regional hubs that could provide a front of house for banking services or other bill payment services in the regions."

Mr Roberston said he was working on the idea with Regional Development Minister Shane Jones.

"If you look at models in Australia, there have been some examples of this. A hub that's provided by the government, where banks can rent space in it or there can be government services provided from it," he said.

"We've all seen that regional banking services are starting to be withdrawn. There are other models that could be thought about that would mean that people would still have access to those services without a full branch being in a town."

New Zealand Post said the idea of closing shops was nothing new - and doing so would allow it to cut costs and keep operating.

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