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Update from NZ Post

New Zealand Post recently presented at our National Conference in Hawera on how declining mail volumes and increasing fixed costs are affecting their ability to sustain their current business model.

They have made a commitment to closely engage with Rural Women New Zealand to ensure the rural community is kept informed, with the aim of ensuring there is a viable, sustainable network for the future. 

Below is an update from New Zealand Post on the current situation.

• In the past decade the volume of mail carried by New Zealand Post has fallen by 20%. That drop in volume is continuing, with nearly 40 million fewer mail items posted in the past year alone. We estimate that mail volumes will halve by 2018.
• The costs of maintaining a postal delivery network have increased in the past decade with a 20% growth in the number of addresses New Zealand Post is required to deliver to at least five or six days per week.

Those two trends – declining volumes and increasing fixed costs - will continue as people increasingly choose to share information and documents electronically through using email, TXT, Twitter, Facebook, and Skype, to name a few. The planned rollout of high-speed broadband will further advance these trends, as a growing number of people take advantage of the convenience of digital messaging channels. 

New Zealand Post has various initiatives underway to ensure a sustainable postal services network in the future. These include redesigning our mail processing and delivery networks, developing digital options through which our customers can choose how they receive their items, and we’re planning for a network that is flexible so we can quickly adapt to meet the rapidly changing needs of people.

We’re designing and planning this work now to make sure we do what’s right for customers and the business from two to three years and beyond. However, we believe the lead–in times to achieve the change are years rather than months. 

To help achieve these necessary changes we are seeking amendments to the Deed of Understanding with the Crown, which hasn’t had any substantial updates since 1998. We expect the Government to call for public submissions on a discussion document on the Deed this year. 

As part of amending the Deed, we are seeking flexibility around delivery frequency and the shape of the postal outlet network. We know we have to adapt the delivery network to match the way people are using physical mail, and the current six-day delivery to more than 95 percent of delivery points simply won’t work in the years to come without both significant and frequent price increases – or seeking a subsidy from the Government. Neither option would be sustainable and would merely stave off the inevitable for a short period.

We need to be ready to adjust delivery frequency which we know has a significant lead-in time. We need the flexibility in our agreement with the Government now, so we can change in the future. Waiting and doing nothing means we would lack the ability to provide certainty around price and service. 

The 1998 Deed also requires New Zealand Post to maintain a retail network of at least 880 postal outlets, of which 240 must include ‘agency services’. While valid at the time, the reality these days is that there is a multitude of other ways to access ‘agency services’ outside of a ‘shop’ environment with technology enabling a wide range of retail outlets to provide agency services. It might also be appropriate to examine the presumption (in the 1998 Deed) that New Zealand Post should be tied to the provision of agency services – which are increasingly able to be met efficiently using digital means and through the private sector. New Zealand Post wants to provide services through a wider range of points of presence rather than be locked into a set number of ‘bricks and mortar’ locations. 

An important point to note here – and one which will become an issue as the media is bound to speculate on possible scenarios – we’re not talking about sudden or impulsive changes. We’re looking to ensure sustainability for the next decade and this year needs to see our “first steps” in establishing the policy framework so we can make necessary steps in the future. There will be no ‘sudden moves’ and we are committed to keeping you informed. 

If you have any questions or feedback please contact either Noeline Holt, RWNZ EO or John Tulloch, NZ Post External Communications Manager, 04 496 4924 (landline); 027 429 9249 (mobile) or john.tulloch@nzpost.co.nz

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Mary McTavish, our national councillor for Bay of Plenty Coromandel, recently presented a cheque for $2000 to Te Ranga school – the first of 10 gardening grants being given to rural schools this year with funds raised from the Farmlands Ladies Nights.

Acting Principal, Janet Blaauw, said, "I would just like to say a HUGE thank you for the gardening grant that our school received from Rural Women NZ. You all do a fabulous job of helping out rural areas!"

Mary told the pupils at a special assembly,  "I am most impressed with what you have already achieved in your school garden.  Clearly there are some expert gardeners among you and I'm very pleased Te Ranga School won this year as you are already demonstrating your keen interest in growing and harvesting your produce.”

The school will purchase new irrigation equipment and gardening tools with its grant.

The gardens will also get a boost thanks to sponsorship from Agrisea, which is contributing a generous quantity of their organic fertiliser product to the winning schools.

There's a real focus in schools on children learning the value of eating fresh food and understanding where it comes from, and we're very pleased to be able to support this, especially as we celebrate the UN International Year of Family Farming.

This is the fourth time Rural Women NZ and Farmlands have worked together to distribute the proceeds from the popular Farmlands Ladies Nights.

Other successful schools this year were Swannanoa, Waitahuna, Waihao Downs, Hororata, Mangamuka, Te Ranga, Kimbolton, Ahititi, Tahuna and Papanui, chosen from 58 applicants.

Projects lined up range from building a tunnel house to constructing a hen pen, buying equipment such as rakes, spades, seeds and plants, and building a permaculture edible food forest.

Farmlands' Events and Sponsorship Manager, Helen Shrewsbury says the company is proud to continue its support of Rural Women New Zealand and the rural school garden grants. 

“As a rural co-operative, it just makes sense for us to support the schools that make up the hubs of the rural communities we service.”

Rural Women NZ's letter box sticker competition is helping show our support for violence-free families.

The competition is being run in partnership with the national It’s Not OK Campaign.

People can show they support violence-free families by posting a sticker on their letter box encouraging us all to make our communities safer. 

Then enter our competition by sending in a photo of your letter box with the sticker on it, just like the one sent in here by one of member Wendy Knight.

Did you know ...

In New Zealand 39% of women in rural areas and 33% in urban areas will experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime
Half of all murders and 58% of violent crime in New Zealand is family violence
Police are called to a family violence incident every six minutes but estimate only 20% of incidents are ever reported.

Family violence can be hard to detect in rural communities where houses are far apart and victims can be more easily isolated from family and friends than in built up areas.

“It can be easy to say ‘It’s not my business’ if we are worried that violence might be happening to someone we know.  But family violence is a crime and should be reported,” says national president, Wendy McGowan.

“As members of Rural Women NZ we can take leadership on this issue.  We can use our profile in our communities to bring this serious social issue out into the open.”

“Friends and family are usually the first people to see the signs of violence in the home and we encourage people to offer help – safely – if they are concerned.

“We say it’s better to be wrong than sorry, so act on your gut instinct.  We don’t recommend intervening in a violent situation, but do recommend asking for help or advice or reaching out at a quiet time.”

Violence is not just physical, it’s psychological, sexual, financial and emotional. Below are some signs that violence is happening in a family relationship.

A victim may be:

fearful, nervous
isolated, doesn't want you coming round
worried about their partner's reaction

A child may be:

silent and withdrawn
unusually well behaved

A perpetrator may be:

controlling their partner and children
making all the decisions
jealous and possessive
controlling finance

The It’s not OK website has more information for family and friends.

The Rural Women NZ letterbox sticker and awareness campaign will run throughout 2014. Contact national office if you'd like a supply of stickers for your community.

Rural Women New Zealand members have organised some great events for Adult Learners Week in September.

Tamahere (Waikato) - chainsaw day

Awana (Great Barrier) - prostate and health issues day

Moa Flat (Otago) - workshop on Iriens

Beaumont-Tuapeka (Southland) - whanau fun day of workshops

Central Taranaki - education changes in primary schools; how parents and grandparents can help

Southland Interprovincial - IT skills day

Rukuhia (Waikato) - IT skills day

Onewhero (Auckland) - communications and leadership day

Pakawau - first aid refresher course

For more information contact Mary Gavigan, ACE Aotearoa

Adult Learners' Week events

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rural Women New Zealand members have organised some great events for Adult Learners Week in September. Read More

Doubtless Bay Branch has undertaken a fantastic project helping Peria School in 2014 to help achieve its vision of expanding its sustainable culture to generating its own electricity. This will hopefully free up funds to expand its curriculum to include more science equipment, formal music and art tuition, and heating its pool so it can be used by the whole community year round.


On Monday, 23rd June, Peria School in the far north became the very first North Island school to be solar powered. The switch on was officiated by Dr Russell Norman who was most impressed by the communities can-do attitude that facilitated this achievement without government assistance. 


Featured in the photo above are Doubtless Bay Branch members Joan Petherick, Pat Shephard, Lois Garton and Gail Garton with Dr. Russell Norman. Featured below right is Dr. Russell Norman addressing the students, staff and guests at the 1872 Peria school with the new solar panels.


You can read more on the project from the NZ Herald here.

Doubtless Bay local project 2014

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Doubtless Bay Branch has undertaken a fantastic project helping Peria School in 2014 to help achieve its vision of expanding its sustainable culture to generating its own electricity. This will hopefully free up funds to expand its curriculum to include more science equipment, formal music and art tuition, and heating its pool so it can be used by the whole community year round. Read More

Northland has been dealt a severe blow from adverse weather over the last couple of weeks and we know some of you wish to help those who've suffered losses, even from afar.

As we know from past events, it isn’t just now that assistance will be needed and appreciated.  It is later once the clean-up is finished that the effect of the stress may show itself.  It’s well documented that such adverse events lead to a spike in family violence, while some people may suffer the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder later.

Northland is an area with a large number of lower socio-economic communities that are less well-resourced financially to cope when disaster strikes.

We aim to assist people under stress in the region now, and to help reduce the impacts further down the track, by:

• sharing information about support available, including the “It’s OK to Ask for Help” campaign
• promoting and supporting Mental Health 101 courses (or similar) being specifically organised for the region
• working with other agencies to find out where help is needed
• organising community get-togethers, morning teas, bbqs etc to de-stress and share information
• raising funds to distribute to those with specific needs

Northland appeal:  If you’d like to donate to our Rural Women NZ Northland Appeal, please deposit funds into Bank Account 06 0493 0317603 00 (Kaurilands RWNZ) or post cheques to Rural Women NZ, PO Box 12-021, Thorndon, Wellington (donations are tax deductible). 

Our Regional Management Team will work with local agencies and support groups in the area to identify where the funds are needed most.

If any members are in need of help, or you know of somebody in need of support, please get in touch with our Top of the North regional councillor, Fiona Gower


With the calving season upon us, we thought this lovely recipe for Cowshed Buns from Lorna Bayly at our Stratford Branch, was a perfect one to share.


You might just need another quick and easy recipe to whip up over the weekend! You can find more recipes like this in our new book, A Good Baking Day.


Cowshed Buns


250 g butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 dssp golden syrup

2 eggs

1 cup sultanas

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder



Preheat oven to 170 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all ingredients well and place spoonfuls onto the baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


*photo is from recipe on baby world uk

Cowshed Buns

Friday, July 04, 2014

With the calving season upon us, we thought this lovely recipe for Cowshed Buns from Lorna Bayly at our Stratford Branch, was a perfect one to share.  Read More