Snail mail matters in the country

Rural mail contractors don’t just bring us the post, they deliver newspapers, courier packages and junk mail too.

It wouldn’t matter if the junk mail came less often, or if it didn’t come at all. But losing Saturday delivery of the paper would be a nuisance and dropping mail deliveries to just three days a week would cause major inconvenience.

Prime Minister John Key and Communications Minister Steven Joyce are wary of the suggestion by New Zealand Post that Saturday mail deliveries might stop or deliveries drop to three days a week.

However, NZ Post is an SOE and the decision is up to its board, not politicians.

Increasing use of the internet and other forms of electronic communication is a major reason people are using snail mail less.

My mother used to write to extended family and friends frequently and when my brothers and I left home we got a letter once a week. It would be rare for anyone to send anything by post that often now when phone calls are much cheaper than they used to be and texts, email, Facebook and other electronic means of communication offer convenient alternatives to letters.

We still send and receive invoices and cheques through the mail but but not nearly as much as we used to because electronic invoicing and payments are replacing paper ones.

We get more give away papers than in the past too – which I see as a sign the rural economy is rebounding; but we get only one daily paper – the ODT – where we used to get The Press as well. Our mail doesn’t arrive until sometime after lunch and we found we’d caught up with most of the news from the radio or internet so were giving the second paper insufficient attention to justify the cost.

We still read the ODT properly but if it came only three times a week we might not which, if others followed suit, would hurt the paper and add to the list of items no longer being delivered by mail.

Alternatives to snail mail are serious competition for NZ Post but reducing service will make it worse.

NZ Post should be working on ways to encourage greater use of its delivery service rather than throwing in the towel and hastening its demise.

4 Responses to Snail mail matters in the country

  1. pdm says:

    I have two aunts, both in their eighties, who still write once a week to their families. Sunday night is letter writing night and each letter is 3 or 4 pages.

    I don’t think `the kids’ write back so often. Mind you they are all over 50 now. lol.

    When I was a kid growing up at Mangaorapa in Central Hawkes Bay rural deliveries were Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that included the Newspaper.

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  2. Bob Deakin says:

    How rural are you? We live some 50k south of Nelson and have only had mail three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for as long as I can remember. The local paper still comes 6 days a week though.

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  3. Gravedodger says:

    I beg to differ HP. Apart from a couple of years while we tried urban living, albeit an absorbed borough 80 Kms from the city, and the 7 years where now we live 500 meters from that old borough boundary with zero zilch delivery, I have lived on a five day delivery RD. For many of those years we had to pay the RD to deliver the mail that the sender had already paid a delivery fee for. I have never been inconvenienced by waiting till Monday afternoon for the bills, exhortations to purchase somebodies rubbish that could have gone straight to the tip and a dead tree press that really only informed me of deaths that I otherwise might miss.
    Mostly all news reaches the community on bush telegraph and Friday night happy hour keeps me informed of all the really important happenings.
    I am surprised you still treat the ODT with such respect although it is a paper I have rarely read. IMHO my local daily paper rarely tells me anything I can’t access on the net and the trend of the modern journalist (term used advisedly)to opine,interpret, analyze and then predict instead of accurately reporting the known facts is very aggravating to me. I still feel I have sufficient comprehension skills to make up my own mind from the facts but it is increasingly unlikely that facts will come in a news paper. Our local fire Chief refuses to give a report on local incidents to The A*#@*# Mail as any story printed in our local two weekly throw away has scant regard for established facts.
    Back to topic, you have valid points about the usefulness and the convenience of the “mailman/woman” but I see the system about as useful as a 15 horsepower spade lug tractor, very useful to tow an implement that was designed for a six horse team but in the modern world, not very appropriate. Most short notice parts,chemicals or other delivery would on the odd occasions be delivered by the supplier or a courier. Someone from most rural delivery addresses and or operations could pick up essential supplies including a paper if that is desired most days and school buses could have a goods locker as they did in my childhood before the days of RD. BTW then the mail still had to be picked up from the township post office as it was too valuable to be delivered by the schoolbus driver such was the very high regard for the importance of the content.
    We, Mrs GD and self, of advanced years use the net (obviously),skype, email, text, and have a no charge toll plan with our broadband, a favourable calling plan for Australia and have almost zero use for snail mail.
    I see New Zealand post as an endangered species that will die and I hope without wasting too many of our resources and taxes.
    I would be interested in an accurate percentage of the info that comes to you and your farmer that would not turn up at all without a 6 day delivery by NZPost.

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  4. homepaddock says:

    Bob – only 20 kms from town and we get six day delivery – except at holiday weekends.

    GD – good points, we wouldn’t miss the bills and junk mail and no doubt we’d cope or find alternative deliveries for at least some of what now comes with the mail.

    As for the ODT – it still has the best cartoons and they’re not online, nor are the hatched, matched and dispatched.

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