Newtown residents lament loss of vital service
March 29, 2018
Residents fear the closure of Newtown’s NZ Post and Kiwibank will affect the most vulnerable members of the community.
Late last year, NZ Post and Kiwibank announced they would be shutting up shop, with NZ Post to operate at another local business and Kiwibank customers to be redirected to Kilbirnie.
But for the elderly, those with disabilities, young families and beneficiaries, the loss of both services will hit them hard.
One pensioner, Allan, said the post shop was an important asset to the community offering convenience and ease of accessibility.
“Since Westpac and BNZ have closed there’s only ANZ. It feels like the town is dying. Why don’t they close [the branch in] Kilbirnie instead? It’s smaller,” he said.
Last year, the Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) centre in Kilbirnie was closed, and its clients referred to the centre in Newtown.
Now residents are being directed to the Kilbirnie Kiwibank branch.
Internet trader John lived round the corner and as a regular at both the bank and post shop thought the news was “terrible”.
“Local people get enormous help from the staff. I’ve known some of them for 20 or 30 years,” he said.
Fellow Newtown resident Nicole said the closure was annoying as it was difficult to find parking at other branches.
She works on Tory Street in the city centre but found it “too busy” in town, preferring to stop in Newtown on her way home.
Newtown mum Clare said it was a shame as the branch was well used by local residents especially those with young children down the road at Newtown School.
“I’m not surprised, but [still] upset. The bank closing is not based on community need,” she said.
Clare had just used the post shop to help her daughter send off a birthday present for a faraway friend and said the family regularly used the service.
NZ Post head of retail Mark Yagmich announced it would partner with Newtown Unichem and Ashleigh Court Pharmacy to provide postal services to Newtown residents, while Kiwibank is yet to determine where its standalone site will be opened.
Meanwhile local residents have taken a petition with 7000 signatures to Parliament where they hope to have their concerns heard by the economic development, science and innovation select committee.