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Mail Delays Expected Due To Anthrax Precautions

For immediate release 18 October 2001

Mail Delays Expected Due To Anthrax Precautions

New Zealand Post has advised that mail delays are expected following the closure of mail centres in Wellington, Rotorua, Nelson and Waikato overnight due to precautions taken after powdery substances were found in the mail.

The South Auckland mail centre in Manukau, which closed yesterday after similar precautions were taken in the adjoining Wiri delivery branch, will re-open this morning.

Contingency plans were put in place overnight for some South Auckland mail to be processed at the Auckland mail centre.

Meanwhile the Wiri delivery branch, the mail operation at Linton Army Camp near Palmerston North and the Eltham delivery branch remain closed, pending the results of tests carried out on substances found in those locations. The Eltham Post Shop re-opened for business yesterday.

Anthrax Project Co-ordinator Dale Stevens said New Zealand Post had implemented contingency planning procedures overnight to transport and process mail in unaffected mail centres.

"Our staff are well drilled in contingency planning but the central role of the Wellington and Waikato mail centres in our network means that delays are likely," Mr Stevens said.

"The risk of anthrax being sent through the mail in New Zealand is extremely low, and there is no information to suggest that this country would be a target for terrorist action.

"These measures, while disruptive, are precautionary and follow correct procedure for isolating and containing potentially hazardous substances, and reducing risk to our staff and the public."

"We await the results of the test for the substance gathered from the first closure in Eltham on Tuesday. Our advice from the National Centre for Disease Investigation is to expect these no earlier than this evening."

Mr Stevens warned that New Zealand Post would be laying complaints with police and vigorously seeking prosecution and damages for costs if evidence of a hoax was found.

ENDS

For further information contact: Tanya Henderson, Communications Advisor Phone 025-539-882

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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