New Zealand Post to slash up to 2,000 jobs
A set of stamps issued by New Zealand Post on May 7, 2013, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation
The move comes after the state-owned service revealed last week that it will deliver letters only three days a week, as demand for "snail mail" declines at a rate of eight percent a year.
Key said the job losses reflected the fact that the post office was undergoing an "unfortunate" and "brutal" transition as technological advances impacted on its business.
"It's pretty obvious for everyone to see that once you go down to three days a week you need less posties," Key said.
"The brutal reality is that people are sending fewer letters and they're sending a lot more communications via text and email and electronic media in general."
New Zealand Post chairman Michael Cullen said 1,500 to 2,000 positions in the organisation’s 10,500-strong workforce would be cut over the next three years as part of the programme, which includes moving to three-day-a-week deliveries from mid-2015.
“How we deliver services... must necessarily reflect the dramatic changes we are seeing in our marketplace," he said.
The organisation, formed in the 1850s, currently delivers mail six days a week, with Sunday the only rest day.
But it said mail deliveries were set to fall to 500 million items annually in coming years, down from a peak of 1.2 billion a year in the early 2000s.
New Zealand Post has expanded into courier and banking services over the past decade, allowing it to turn a NZ$121 million ($102 million) profit in the 12 months to June 2013, despite the fall in traditional mail.
But it said courier parcels accounted for only 2.5 percent of its mail volumes and while the figure was set to rise in coming years, it would not be enough to cover projected losses if mail deliveries remained unchanged.
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