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Call for moratorium on Post Office and Kiwi Bank closures

Call for moratorium on Post Office and Kiwi Bank closures

Newtown residents want to retain their suburb’s Post Shop and Kiwibank, in the face of planned closure.

Post Offices in surrounding suburbs have already been closed and a sub group set up to oppose those closures say that there are plans to close the Kilbirnie and Manners Street Post Offices.

The plan is to replace Post Offices with franchises providing very limited services in pharmacies, service stations, stationery shops and the like throughout New Zealand.

Amanda Barber, a spokesperson for Newtown’s Residents Association Sub Group, said the group had been circulating a petition calling for a moratorium on all closures.

“So far we have over 5600 signatures,” she said. “People are angry with NZ Post and Kiwibank for arrogantly dismissing residents’ opposition with an arm wave while saying people can go online or use a franchise or catch a bus to another suburb.

“There are significant numbers of people who do not have a computer, or computer skills, or are not literate in English, or are disabled,” Amanda said. “There are many who cannot access the cluttered spaces of franchise shops with wheelchairs or baby buggies.”

Amanda said that post offices and Kiwibanks in places like Newtown played a key role in community life, and their disappearance has and will have damaging flow-on effects, damaging the structure that provides quality of life and wellbeing in New Zealand towns and cities.

Jacinda Ardern was reported (Dominion Post, 2 February) as moving toward the inclusion of “wellbeing of New Zealanders as a measure of our economic success”.

“This might not happen fast enough for Newtown and its adjacent suburbs,” said Amanda. “But the Labour-led government could declare a moratorium on all closures until a thorough investigation of what quality of postal and banking services are necessary for healthy communities.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he was disappointed with the news that Newtown was set to lose its Post Shop and Kiwibank.

“I know it has been a trend in recent years for New Zealand Post to move towards franchises, but post offices have for many years been important to communities, providing an opportunity for social interaction as well as postal and banking facilities.

“There is no doubt that losing its post office would be a blow to the people of Newtown. I hope a solution can be found.”

NZ Post pays the Crown a healthy dividend, but it is not so good at fulfilling its obligation under the State Owned Enterprise legislation “to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard for the interests of the community within which it exists”.


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