New Zealand Post has confirmed it wants to axe 71 jobs from its Christchurch-based call centre and re-establish around half of those in Auckland.
Employees were briefed on the proposal this afternoon and will have around two weeks to consult with the company in an attempt to save their jobs. Four roles will also be disestablished in Wellington.
NZ Post spokesperson Sarah Austen-Smith says employees will be given a chance to relocate, with 40 new roles created in Auckland.
"They will be getting their heads around this change and they'll be working with our team here, and we'll be actively supporting them, we understand this is a difficult time," she says.
"We'll be working with them in the coming weeks to see what will work on an individual basis."
Ms Austen-Smith says the proposal was part of a five-year strategy announced in 2013 to invest in "integrated parcels, logistics and letters business".
However, she defended the consultation and denied the decision had already been made.
"This is part of a broader process we're running, and yes, I think there is absolutely a point. It's important to work with our people," she says.
"What I can say is we've got a period of consultation where we will work with people and I guess it's really too soon to talk about anything other than what I've said today."
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) organiser Joe Gallagher says the proposal is a blow to the local community.
The union rep blamed the Government for demanding more profits from NZ Post in an attempt to reach surplus, and highlighted how the company had closed many of its distribution centres, made hundreds redundant and reduced deliveries to three days a week.
"The Government is driving short-term thinking instead of allowing Post to invest in a secure network of the future. What they should be doing is injecting more money to support Post as it continues to modernise and grow a New Zealand-owned bank."
NZ Post says the proposal to operate the entire call centre from Auckland would allow the company to interact with the public as one contact centre, combining calls, mail and parcels.