Talk about failing to deliver.
It seems the woman arrested after the Wakatipu’s mail theft scandal came to light didn’t even respond to mail meant for her.
Police found thousands of opened and unopened letters at a Frankton Road home last week – including invoices addressed to her for the rental of an Arrowtown storage unit.
When police went and inspected the 1.5m by 1.5m unit last Thursday they discovered even more missing mail – boxes and suitcases full of it.
Detectives now expect more than 20,000 items will be counted in total, though New Zealand Post has revised that to about 17,000. It’s close to the biggest single instance of missing mail in NZ history – the record stands at 28,000 items.
Queenstown Self Storage owner Brian Chisholm says the unit was rented for about 12 months – but he was only paid the $70 monthly fee for the first few months.
Chisholm sent the woman invoices once she stopped paying – invoices discovered by police at the Frankton Rd home when they came across the mail hoard.
“From what I gather she didn’t even deliver her own mail to herself,” Chisholm reflects.
At times, it appears other people were “subcontracted” to deliver on her behalf.
Fernhill residents claim the arrested postie often subcontracted the round to friends living in a well-known party house.
Mark and Brenda Douglas, in Dart Place, say they complained to NZ Post more than a year ago about the postie dropping off bags of mail at the rowdy house nearby.
Mark Douglas says: “Anybody could have gone through it – it was an open house.
“She’d dump the mail and sometimes the guy in the flat would deliver it, sometimes he wouldn’t.
“We complained to NZ Post and were fobbed off. They told us they had checked everybody. What a load of rubbish. How can you check when there are 55 people in a house?”
NZ Post national heartland manager Dean Horsup flew to Queenstown this week to placate rankled residents and businesses.
Horsup says the woman is legally allowed to subcontract other people to deliver: “We’ve not heard of this but any contract postie can do that, if they have a really heavy day for example,” Horsup says.
“We do it with our own salaried staff. As long as it’s nothing untoward she has the right to do that.
“Ideally we would want to know who her relief people are because we do security checks on staff. She went through a security check when she started as well.”
Horsup confirmed the Arrowtown letters in storage were from relief rounds the postie took on in Arrowtown for one month and Lake Hayes Estate last May.
Police and NZ Post workers are sifting through the mail which dates back two years. About 100 items have been opened. The rest could be delivered to its intended recipients as early as next week, along with a letter of explanation.
The woman, who has interim name suppression, is due to appear in Queenstown District Court on December 3.