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NZ Post Releases External Audit Report

For immediate release 28 September 2001

NEW ZEALAND POST RELEASES EXTERNAL AUDIT REPORT

The Board of New Zealand Post released today the final audit report into the company's operations and those of its international subsidiary, Transend.

"The New Zealand Post Board has ensured a thorough and rigorous investigation of the issues raised by the group of anonymous employees and it is confident that these are being addressed," said New Zealand Post Chairman, Ross Armstrong.

The audit centred on the establishment and performance of the Madrid and UK offices, the selection of Transend's preferred airline and travel agency, expense claims, recruitment policies and use of consultants, and operational and business strategies. "The audit has highlighted some governance and policy compliance issues which have been taken seriously by the Board. However, many of the allegations were found to be unsubstantiated and the audit report found no evidence of financial impropriety."

In response to the audit, Transend has implemented a revised and tightened travel policy which has been reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In addition, New Zealand Post has strengthened overall company policy compliance and governance and has taken steps throughout the year to ensure a company-wide understanding of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (Whistleblowers Act).

Dr Armstrong said the audit process was a valuable exercise in assisting New Zealand Post to improve its governance around new subsidiaries, including reporting to the Board. Transend has also been reconfigured recently to place direct focus on global consultancy.

"Global consultancy is a relatively new business for New Zealand Post that has grown rapidly and strongly over the past three years. As with any new business, a new framework of policies and procedures needed to be established.

"At times this has meant decisions were made without proper procedures or policies in place, however, the Board is confident that this framework is now established and that Transend can move forward and develop the opportunities in this growing market.

"As outlined in our recent Statement of Corporate Intent, one of New Zealand Post's key strategies for the next three years is pursuing high value growth in global consulting. Transend is strongly placed to continue to take New Zealand skills, systems and technologies to the world."

New Zealand Post has provided copies of the report to the Shareholding Minister and the Office of the Auditor General.

The issues were first raised in an anonymous letter to a member of the Board on 19 January and a further letter on 21 March which were considered by the full Board on 21 March.

The Board developed procedures for an investigation of the issues raised and appointed independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers on 29 March. An interim report was released in June and was finalised following further information from the group of anonymous employees.

ENDS

For further information: Simon Taylor, External Relations Manager simon.taylor@nzpost.co.nz

Note: copies of the audit report are available on request

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