30 Mar 2016

Finance Minister stands by NZ Post position

8:40 pm on 30 March 2016

Finance Minister Bill English has ruled out privatising New Zealand Post, either partially or fully.

New Zealand Post delivery truck south of Palmerston North.

New Zealand Post delivery truck south of Palmerston North. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The company yesterday announced it would shed a further 500 jobs by July, as it faced falling annual revenues of up to $30 million, and 60 million fewer letters being sent each year.

Mr English said the structure of New Zealand Post and its subsidiary Kiwibank was under review, and he had not ruled out a formal split between the two.

During question time on Wednesday, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei asked Mr English whether he stood by his statement that New Zealand Post was going to remain government-owned, and whether he ruled out partially selling it.

Mr English's answer could not have been clearer.

"Yes and yes".

Ms Turei then tried another tack.

"Has he asked the Treasury to work on any options or costings for the full or partial privatisation of either New Zealand Post or Kiwibank?"

Mr English replied that he had not.

He said New Zealand Post had been putting in place a plan to deal with the reality that fewer and fewer people wanted to use its service. But he also had a suggestion for the Greens to help out.

"The Greens could contribute by stopping using email and using envelopes - and post has had a bit of a boost recently from the flag referendum actually.

"Many millions of dollars worth of business directed to them by the government."

Mr English said there was no doubt that New Zealand Post was worth a lot less than it was a few years ago.

"I'm speaking here about loss of value in terms of profit and loss accounts, New Zealand Post is just holding its own ... but the government's clear and firm policy is to retain 100 percent ownership of New Zealand Post."

Mr English also confirmed that Kiwibank would remain 100 percent New Zealand owned.