Friday, 28 September 2012

#NZ Post, and a tale of three parcels [updated]

As Ian Fleming almost said, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is rank incompetence.

Speaking of rank incompetence, as we were yesterday morning, let me give you the performance of NZ Post. I don’t mean their performance in “returning a dividend” to the government, or in administering the Anderton Bank—I mean in doing the core job of a postal system: delivering the mail.

Remember mail?

Here’s the story of three parcels.

About this time last year, I bought several books from overseas, of which one never arrived (William Hutt’s Rehabilitation of Say’s Law, now you ask). I only realised months later it was missing, because in the meantime I’d been enjoying the Kindle version, but when I did realise and chased it up with NZ Post (they have a nifty tracking page on their website so you can see where they think all your stuff went to) they had no idea where it had gone. Their “records” showed no record of non-delivery; my bookshelf begged to differ. I flagged it away as bad luck, and continued to enjoy reading the e-book.

Then in April another parcel of books went missing. But it wasn’t lost, said NZ Post, they just didn’t know where it was. Records showed it arrived in the country in good order, then disappeared. After a fortnight of phone calls, it finally turned up somewhere I could collect it—turned out it had the package’s wrapping and address label had been damaged somewhere in the NZ Post system and then somehow been put outside in the rain—whereupon some kind soul had wrapped the whole package in plastic to produce the perfect moist, humid environment in which you can be sure mould will flourish. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been disappointed with the final result: my copy of How the Far East Was Lost now boasts an irreplaceable patina that will ensure my copy will never be confused for another.

Undeterred, I am now expecting yet another package. I have been expecting it for a month. But I haven’t got it, and neither it seems do NZ Post. At least, they don’t know if they’ve got it.  They don’t know very much at all.  They do know a driver did take it to my address, and upon finding no-one home he did take it away again.* Nice. No card, no note, no communication—which is supposedly the reason to register on NZ Post’s bloody website. Nothing. And assuredly, no parcel. And once again, I’m told by NZ Post it is not lost—they just don’t know where it is. Not exactly. It could be in Auckland; it could have been sent back to its overseas source; it could be sitting in a cage out at the airport containing sundry other similarly undelivered parcels; it could even, conceivably, have been sent as a care package to Kabul to help English-reading Afghanis through the inevitable transition to Taleban rule in twelve months time.*** But until this cage has been sorted through, which must be a very large cage since it seems to take several days to rummage through, no more news about my parcel is apparently available.

Until then, I wait for a phone call.

As Ian Fleming almost said, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times in twelve months must surely be rank incompetence.**

But I’m also waiting for a fourth parcel. A certain Kickstarter package containing two long-playing vinyl discs. A package that should have been here and on my turntable around a fortnight ago. But that package hasn’t even appeared on NZ Post’s tracking page.

I can feel already it’s not going to end well.

And I wonder what Ian Fleming would say about a fourth?

PS:  Anyone else have similar problems to report?

UPDATE: I have had a phone call! The parcel, I was told, is still in the hands of and yet to be returned by CourierPost, the non-deliverers of the parcel, who are due to return it sometime today, tomorrow or next week to “the cage” so that it can be reassigned for re-delivery by … Courier Post.
I asked to go in and pick it up myself when or if it is ever actually sighted.

* * * * *

* Which begs the question, do we now, as they used to in the Soviet Union, need to stay home peering through our curtains on days NZ Post might deliver, ready at a moment’s notice to leap forth and wrestle our parcels bodily from their delivery persons?)

** Only three? I’ve occasionally been told by friends that things have been sent to me that have never arrived,

*** While they would certainly benefit from a thorough reading of Omnipotent Government, I wonder how they’ll enjoy my copy of The Turgot Collection: Pocket Edition, and The Socialist Tradition, from Moses to Lenin?


  1. Bought an item from Trademe. Was sent and never arrived. Replacement was sent and never arrived. Hardly surprising for an organisation headed by "Sir" Michael "I'm a doctor" Cullen.

  2. This reminds me of the mobile phone that Telecom sent out to me twice, only to have NZ Post decide that the address they've been sending my bank statements to for years didn't exist! In the end I had it sent to work, where it arrived several working days later than anticipated.

    If a vendor offers UPS or FedEx as a delivery option, use it. It's expensive, but at least the goods arrive on time and in good condition!

  3. I am so angry at NZ Post. I've waited a month for a parcel to arrive from the UK and I still don't have it! I am searching desperately for a way to retrieve my mail but they didn't even leave a card so there is no way to trace it.

    Another incident was when the NZ immigration sent me my visa (together with the passport and other documents). I had to call NZ immigration to get the tracking number!! Otherwise, all these documents would have been lost. They never leave any card on my mailbox or anything so I have no idea what other mail I'm missing!

  4. I am missing a parcel sent from uk of several items of clothes. waited 2 months.another replacement was sent on 12th Nov and should be in country.awaiting that.unreal...that MAY turn up but I am very suspicious of nz post.where is the first parcel?

  5. where us my parcel? I am very upset over non arrival of parcel no 1 and I await parcel no 2.I have phoned nz post to monitor parcels over next 2 weeks.I did not know that could be done till speaking with delivery team yesterday.This is mail coming from uk .I am very angry as package is clothes I paid for from lady I have known of for years and she really did post them.She kindly replaced items and posted 12 th Nov. where is this package?I did have a parcel from London arrive in 6 days.Hence I am concerned over replacement parcel from a different part of uk.Maybe it will arrive next week?But I am very anxious and angry as someone obviously stole? the parcel sent 2 months ago.Thieves?sad.I anxiously await. reading of others experiences makes me more anxious!

  6. I myself lost two packages in a row, got one severely damaged package (that they then wanted to collect back and spend indeterminate amount of time investigating, after wasting a week of my time following up with them) and numerous delays and mysterious misplacements that take weeks to resolve. NZ post has become a den of inequity and incompetence, and there doesn't appear to be a path to accountability. They've outsourced their operations to the max, and don't hold their vendors to any kind of standards. There is probably corruption behind the scenes that we are privy to only on account of the consistent poor results. The online tracking tool for example has never worked properly for years, yet the IT vendor responsible for implementing and maintaining the system ( have never had their engagement revoked. Go to the site right now, you'll see the tracker isn't working. I am now asking sellers to send packages using other couriers, or I just won't buy.

  7. Awaiting again for the useless, lying, thieving, lazy incompetent scum that run and are employed at NZ Post to deliver a parcel that was put on a plane over a month ago to NZ from Russia. The international tracking system that NZ Post is a part of apparently does not work in NZ.
    Mind you I have documented evidence that NZ Post don't know the difference between North Island and South Island but I have today received a letter from a mate on the West Coast after 4 1/2 MONTHS. No sign of the other three letters with photographs he sent me are.
    NZ Courier Post can 'lose' a parcel on a trip over the harbor bridge and yet dancing girls tell us all is well and NZ Post are wonderful.
    This is what happens when overpaid university educated idiots who do not understand the real world are allowed to run things. Doesn't help that at least 1/2/ the employees do not speak English and are unsure what country they are in.


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