29 Aug 2011

New Zealand Post optimistic of return to profit

7:05 am on 29 August 2011

New Zealand Post is optimistic it will return to profit this year and is focussing on improving efficiencies as mail volumes continue to fall.

The state-owned postal operator lost $35.6 million in the year to the end of June, compared with a $1.3 million profit the previous year, as it was hit by the Canterbury earthquakes, restructuring costs and bad debt provisions at Kiwibank.

New Zealand Post shut some of its post shops during the year, to try to reduce costs.

Chief executive Brian Roche says he knows more changes have to be made and the company's focus now isn't so much on closures, but improving efficiency within the existing network.

New Zealand Post is about to begin a four month pilot of self-serve kiosks, which will allow customers to weigh and post letters and parcels, pay bills and top up their mobiles.

Mr Roche says the kiosks, which may take several years to roll out nationwide, should improve customer's access to postal services.

He says when the kiosks are fully operational they will be in places such as petrol stations, libraries, supermarkets and shopping malls. Some would provide a 24/7 service.

Mr Roche doesn't expect wholesale staff cuts from the introduction of the kiosks, saying any job losses could be accounted for through normal staff turnover.

New Zealand Post cut about 200 jobs in 2011, largely from its Wellington head office.