The creeping privatisation of mail delivery


Why is this bloke from Game of Thrones trying to sell us NZ Post? He arrested his son on trumped up charges – I wouldn’t buy stamps from him!

When I opened up my mailbox yesterday there was a NZ Post leaflet cheerily telling me that “The world is changing, so we’re changing with it.” Good news? Unfortunately not. When I turned the leaflet over it informed me that my mail would now be delivered only on alternate days – that is, three times a week.

This is tremendous news for the main private mail deliverer, DX Mail, a subsidiary of Freightways. Earlier this year Freightways managing director Dean Bracewell

said that as the NZ Post service

“does decline customers look for a premium service.”

DX Mail has already picked up a lot of business mail and this will increase, particular for those firms who want their mail delivered the following day. DX mail provides a cost-competitive cross-town next day delivery service and is targeting the big mailers like schools, hospitals and banks.

NZ Post is helping DX Mail in several ways, not just by reducing the frequency of its deliveries.

Since 2008 NZ Post has removed

around 1300

street post boxes (

about 30% of the total

) and the process continues. For example, in early June NZ Post removed

31 post boxes in Lower Hutt

. Businesses that used to put their mail in a nearby post box are now more likely to phone up DX Mail and get them to collect it, or they might take it take it to the nearest DX Mail Exchange centre or street box, the numbers of which are increasing beyond their

present 300


NZ Post also helps DX Mail

under a contract

whereby it delivers DX letters to any places DX Mail feels it wouldn’t be cost effective for them to do it themselves, including small towns or rural areas. NZ Post, unlike DX Mail, is under a social obligation to deliver mail to even the most out of way places, at the standard letter and parcel rates, which in this respect does make NZ Post less “competitive” than DX Mail.

There’s a revealing photo on the NZ Post leaflet delivered to my letterbox yesterday. In it a smiling woman holds two parcels. Not a letter in sight. The photo symbolises the current focus of NZ Post as a parcel deliverer tapping into the growth of online purchasing.

However, by letting private operators like DX get a greater foothold in mail delivery, NZ Post might find itself subject to new challenges in parcel delivery too.  DX will be helped by the fact that its parent company, Freightways, already runs a substantial parcel delivery courier business.