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A stamp of disapproval

NZ Post said Kaiwhata Rd is dangerous for couriers. PHOTO/GEORGE SHIERS

The contractor for Kaiwhata Rd has ended up in the ditch several times in the past two years. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

A decision not to deliver mail to a rural Wairarapa road has annoyed residents.

NZ Post Wairarapa delivery service manager Vaughan Smith said in a letter to Kaiwhata Rd residents last week that the road was dangerous and mail delivery would stop in November.

Smith issued a long list of reasons for the decision, including it being a gravel road, the narrowness of the road, steep drops off from the sides, drainage ditches, periodic flooding, rock falls, wild deer, stock grazing on the roadside and no cellphone coverage to call for help.

“Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 New Zealand Post is legally obliged to eliminate or minimise risks to the health and safety of its employees and contractors so far as is reasonably practicable,” Smith said.

“The health and safety of our people and communities is of the utmost importance to us. We work to minimise risks.”

NZ Post said there had been three accidents on Kaiwhata Rd in the past two years, and similar conditions on other Wairarapa roads had caused minor injuries and written-off vans.

However, resident Martin Byl said the condition of Kaiwhata Rd was the same as it had always been.

“She [NZ Post driver] has been doing the job for five or six years, I’ve lived here for 10 years and the road is no worse than when she started.

“The only thing that could be different is the logging trucks.”

Byl said logging would be finished before Christmas.

“We had a meeting here [with NZ Post] about a month ago, but they didn’t want to hear our argument.”

In a presentation to residents this month, NZ Post said there were five addresses affected.

Another resident, who Times-Age has agreed not to name, said other companies were still using the road.

“We’re very disappointed in NZ Post. The service has gotten worse and it seems the mail lady is calling the shots.”

Masterton District Council [MDC] roading services manager Kaine Jaquiery said it was a business decision by NZ Post.

“MDC has a regular grading cycle and service levels for unsealed roads where our contractor takes action if there are significant defects that prevent light vehicles using them safely.

“Recent wet weather meant that more work than usual has been required on a number of our roads, and Kaiwhata Rd has been one area that has been under some pressure, not only from the weather but an increased number of heavy vehicles involved in logging.

“Heavy grading was carried out on a section of road to restore its shape and the level of service we expect in the area.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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