NZ Post price hike to hit publishers, rural communities, charities and businesses hard

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AUCKLAND, Wednesday: A group of concerned communities and businesses are today appealing to the Government to make a change that will stop the sudden and significant postal price increase that threatens to cut them off.

From July 1, New Zealand Post is hiking its postage price for bulk mail customers by a substantial 30%. If this price increase goes ahead, the cost of sending mail will have increased 100% in the past five years.

Thirteen organisations representing community groups and businesses that will be significantly affected by the price hike have sent a letter – via Goode PR – to Ministers and MPs today asking them to amend the deed of understanding that exists between the Government and state-owned NZ Post.

The deed’s purpose is to ensure equal access to the postal network for all individuals, communities and businesses who rely on it. However, it only sets out requirements for points of access and frequency of delivery with no mention of price. 

The group, made up of representatives from rural communities, not-for-profits, the print and magazine industry and other affected businesses, says an urgent amendment to the deed of understanding is needed as price directly impacts accessibility.

The view of the group is that access points and delivery days are irrelevant if the price is too high for New Zealanders to put anything in the post box.

Nicholas Burrowes from the Magazine Publishers Association said: “Our aim is to ensure the Government acts to put pressure on NZ Post to deliver on its promise of accessibility.

“It’s a thumb in the eye to the media industry – this price increase will lead to the collapse of publications exposed to NZ Post’s monopoly on addressed mail.”

“Without an amendment to the deed to address the cost of post, this price increase will effectively diminish our local voice and identity, and put companies out of business in a sector that employs hundreds of New Zealanders.

“It’s a thumb in the eye to the local media industry, after an extremely challenging period through Covid-19 and now the cost-of-living crisis. Our members have done their best to absorb ongoing cost increases over the past few years, but this price increase will sadly lead to the collapse of publications exposed to NZ Post’s monopoly on addressed mail.”

Rural Women NZ ceo Gabrielle O’Brien said: “I am particularly concerned about people living in rural New Zealand where the postal service provides a vital connection to each other, to the rest of the country and the world.

“The reality is that for parts of rural and remote New Zealand there is no choice about the use of post and therefore we implore the Government to hold NZ Post to account.

“Whilst digital connectivity is improving, there are many New Zealanders in these remote communities who do not have consistent, reliable connectivity and who rely on the postal service to run their businesses and to keep informed.”

In the letter to Ministers and MPs the group recognises that access to important information can be found online, however the digital divide remains a key concern particularly for rural communities, low socio-economic groups and the elderly.

Grey Power NZ president Jan Pentecost said: “The elderly are reliant on postal services and the price increase will greatly affect these vulnerable members of the community.

“The publications we rely on will not survive unless NZ Post reverts to a model of price increases that are signalled, gradual and realistic.”

“Grey Power NZ is very concerned about NZ Post’s proposed 30% cost rise. For many older people who are digitally excluded, writing a letter to friends and family is one of their main traditional communication methods in this world of social isolation when no family or friends live nearby.

“More than 50% of superannuitants have very little income apart from their pension and such a large postage increase on top of all the other escalating living costs may well mean that numerous older people are further disadvantaged. Older people matter too!”

Further concern centres around the role the postal service plays in raising funds for some of New Zealand’s most critical charities. While these organisations have been working to transition to online fundraising platforms, communicating with their donors and memberships in a way that works for them is vital – and for many that way is through the postal network.

Collectively the group is calling for the Government to ensure all New Zealanders have fair and equitable access to the postal service.

As stated in the letter: “The print material and publications we rely on will not survive unless NZ Post reverts to a model of price increases that are signalled, gradual and realistic. NZ Post is owned by New Zealanders and it is New Zealanders the Government should be putting at the centre at this time.”

Signatories to the letter include …

  • Magazine Publishers Association
  • Rural Women New Zealand
  • Grey Power
  • NZ Farm Life
  • Blue Star Group
  • PrintNZ
  • AgriHQ
  • Rural Advocacy Network
  • NZ Hunter
  • Fishing News
  • NZ Outdoor
  • Rod and Rifle
  • Hunting and Fishing

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