Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Part privatisation of Royal Mail

While New Zealand's new National/ACT/Maori Party/United Future government continues to reject privatisation, Lord Mandelson, Gordon Brown's Industry Secretary today announced that the British government is part privatising the Royal Mail.

The Royal Mail, for anyone used to NZ Post, is a dinosaur. The list of problems it has is long:
- Complicated tariff structures that encourage use of counter staff, not simple stamp purchases;
- No sale of overseas postage outside Post Offices;
- Manual mail sorting;
- Chronic queuing at major Post Offices;
- Limited opening hours, and very limited hours for parcel pickup (often at fairly distant locations);
- Some locations with only cash payment available.

This all with the ever ubiquitous regulator (Postcomm) and government funded consumer representative body "Postwatch", neither of which exists in New Zealand, which maintains high standards of service, without subsidy AND state owned. The UK persistently believes that open markets need regulation, and consumers can't look after themselves. Just small examples of millions of pounds of unnecessary waste.

So a "strategic minority partnership" is sought from the private sector, to restructure the Royal Mail. Taxpayers would take on the £7 billion deficit in the Royal Mail's pension scheme, because those people work so hard for it don't they? It makes a profit, but loses money on its core letter business. It hasn't helped that it lost its statutory monopoly two years ago. New Zealand Post lost its statutory monopoly in 1998 - at the time Jim Anderton leading the Alliance, predicted mayhem.

Funnily enough, standing in a painful queue at a post office recently I was commenting on how it needed to be privatised.

Gordon Brown can do it - yes his leftwing loser backbench waxed on moaning with their northern accents - you have to ask why it can't be done in New Zealand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, but I have just read a different take on this at a UK Libertarian website. Read the article then click on the link through to the EU directive