4 Mar 2015

Mystery of Auckland Council mail

1:01 pm on 4 March 2015

Mystery grows around the fate of one of the most important pieces of unsolicited mail sent to half a million Auckland households.

The Auckland Long Term plan brochure.

The Auckland Long Term plan brochure. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

The Auckland Council has insisted every household had received a copy of the summary brochure on the city's ten year budget, the Long Term Plan.

The Household Summary seeks feedback on an unprecedented proposal to perhaps introduce motorway charges, or higher rates and petrol taxes, to pay for otherwise unaffordable transport projects.

Community leaders have reported hundreds of locals as saying they had not seen the brochure, which went into homes in late January.

North Shore Councillor George Wood said he was at a community meeting on Tuesday where the fate of the brochure was discussed.

"People have got different theories, because there's no rhyme or reason as to why some found it and some didn't," he said.

"A huge number of people have signs saying 'No Junk Mail', and a lot of people might have just put it through into the wastepaper."

Veteran rates reform campaigner David Thornton said he had spoken to about 100 people who had not received the mailout.

"I didn't get one, my neighbour didn't, and then I started getting phone calls," he said.

Mr Thornton said the council had chosen the cheapest way to mail out the information, mixing it in with the usual mix of junk mail.

The brochure was delivered by a contract firm Reachmedia.

The council said it was classed as unaddressed mail so should still have gone to addresses with signs saying 'No Junk Mail', but not to those with signs saying 'No Unaddressed Mail'.

The council provided media with a lengthy statement from Reachmedia outlining the processes which it believes confirm delivery. It said two delivery rounds were missed and done the following week, and it was told of only nine queries about non-delivery.

Auckland Council said it has had about 50 calls or emails.

It said nearly 4,000 responses have used the hard copy forms, a better result than usual. Half as many again have responded online. Some who received the brochure may have chosen to reply online.

The large number of reported failures to find the brochure suggested something had gone wrong. However it was not clear whether there was a delivery failure, or whether the eye-catching brochure might have been consigned to the paper recycling along with the retail junk-mail, without ever being read.

Consultation closes on 16 March.

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