15 Apr 2011

NZ Post to close outlets

6:13 pm on 15 April 2011

New Zealand Post plans to close some of its post and Kiwibank outlets and lay off staff.

The company has warned the Government it is making a $40 million loss on its store network and is looking to new technology to cut costs.

Chief executive Brian Roche told Morning Report that job losses are inevitable, but widespread closures - such as those that took place in the 1980s - will not happen.

He says the company is considering installing self-service technology for customers wanting to post letters, parcels or pay bills, in order to cut costs and reduce queues.

The company says it is looking at how many outlets it has in any one area and wants to eliminate any double-ups.

NZ Post has just over 300 outlets. Under government regulations, it must have a minimum of 240 throughout the country.

The union for about 1000 NZ Post employees says staff are nervous about their future at the company.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little says the union is keen to ensure as many staff as possible can be redeployed within NZ Post.

However, Mr Little says some people may need to begin looking at other opportunities.

Grey Power president Roy Reid says the loss of face-to-face contact will concern many elderly people and some will find kiosks hard to use.

Mr Reid believes many people will dread using them and they will be resistant to the change.