NZ Post’s failure to maintain adequate postal voting
21 October 2019
Postal Workers Union had made two submissions to Parliamentary Select Committees
about NZ Post’s failure to maintain an adequate postal voting infrastructure
NZ Post’s failure to maintain an adequate postal voting infrastructure has been the subject of two submissions to Parliamentary Select Committees by the Postal Workers Union since the last Local Authority postal vote in 2016. The union maintained that as a state owned enterprise NZ Post was failing in its duty to the democratic process by its widespread removal of road side posting boxes.
NZ Post was pulling out posting boxes with up to 30 letters a day in suburban areas claiming it was too expensive to send out couriers to clear the boxes even though in many locations throughout the country the company had courier vans driving past roadside post boxes several times during the day. Whole city suburbs have been stripped of roadside posting boxes.
A proposal from the Postal Workers Union that posties could clear the post boxes while on their delivery rounds was rejected by NZ Post.
Following the report from Election Services that dealing with NZ Post had been “frustrating” the union will be seeking its own meeting with the Electoral Commission. The Postal Workers Union has already asked NZ Post about negotiating with the Electoral Commission for the delivery of voting papers over more than the current four days. Following the introduction of every second day delivery each postie now has to deliver half of the voting papers for each of their two rounds over the four days placing an unrealistic burden on both the posties themselves and the postal delivery network.
A study by the company of the numbers of posting boxes correlated to postal voting patterns clearly does not correlate to householders’ experiences from the regular reports from posties hearing from people saying they cannot find posting boxes.
The union believes NZ Post continues to fail in its obligation under the State Owned Enterprises Act to “exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so”. Despite the union’s frustrations with some of NZ Post’s particular approaches to declining letter volumes the Postal Workers Union will continue to pursue its own policy of supporting a sustainable, efficient, reliable and state owned postal delivery network.