I’m hazy on all the shenanigans around NZ Post over the years, but it looks like things are coming to an end, and that the functions of NZ Post will be wholly carried out by private business concerns in the near future. Think Oamaru – where post is delivered by a taxi company.
It’s looking very much like the final chapter in the same old sad story of liberalism. Take a service. Remove it’s monopoly status and strip it of its assets. Allow private concerns to “cherry pick” the more profitable aspects of the business (the Oamaru example), and keep the vicious downward spiral of gouging and stripping going until there is “unfortunately” no option besides termination of the publicly owned and run service – or the residues of what once was a publicly owned and run service.
In a few years, the state will (as tends to happen) have to step in and pick up some of the pieces that private businesses will have let ‘drop to rot’ on the basis of unprofitability.
This demise of NZ Post was guided by (Sir) Michael Cullen in his previous role as NZ Post board chair between 2009 and 2016 (He was preceded by Jim “neo-liberalism has failed” Bolger who was chair from 2001).
In 2009, the NZ Post group posted a net profit of $71.8 million. $89 million in the last six months of 2016 off the back of asset stripping (or “downsizing” and “rationalising” if you prefer) that was accompanied by a $14 million profit in the area of “mail, parcels and logistics“. And whatever was left by last year (it gets murky) returned a profit of $6 million that the board released in a press statement proclaiming a $13 million loss – go figure.
Actually, it’s fairly easy to figure. There is an ideological imperative at work, and the ideology will bend reality to provide justification for continuing down the route determined by ideology.
Jim Bolger said liberalism was a failed experiment or some such. Jacinda Ardern made noises about how liberalism had failed. But when judged on what is done rather than on what is said, it would seem that NZ’s political classes are as wedded to the liberal or neo-liberal project as ever.
So next year, if you don’t have internet or your own transport, phone a taxi using the same privatised infrastructure that provides internet access, and jump in the back seat of a cab with sacks of letters and small parcels, to ride across town to wherever it might be you can still pay bills at the counter. Because this is the best that the 21C has to offer (in NZ).