New Zealand Post's new mega parcel processing facility unveiled in Auckland as consumer spending falls

The size of four football fields, New Zealand Post has debuted its new state-of-the-art sorting centre in south Auckland, capable of processing up to 30,000 parcels per hour.  

The 30,000 square metre facility is the third site to open under NZ Post's $200 million investment in parcel processing infrastructure, with the Wellington Super Depot and the Southern Operations Centre upgrade both opening in 2022.  

Marie Watson, NZ Post's general manager of processing and automation, said the eventual integration with international products under one roof will set it apart from anything seen before in New Zealand.   

"The purpose of the facility and the investment for New Zealand Post is to enable us to grow with e-commerce," she told Newshub.  

It will double the state-owned enterprise's parcel processing capabilities, from 13,000 per hour at the previous Auckland Operations Centre, to 30,000 at peak capacity.  

But all that processing power is only useful if people are buying stuff and having it sent to them, and NZ Post CEO David Walsh acknowledged that demand is down.   

"Certainly, in the last 12 months, like the economy generally, we've seen online buying domestically soften off," he told Newshub.   

Retail New Zealand chief executive Carolyn Young says it reflects the struggles facing businesses.  

"It's not surprising that the package numbers are dropping and then with the economy and consumer confidence, people will be out there buying less," she told Newshub.   

The problem is, despite over a year of a flatlining economy, inflation pressures remain sticky, reducing people's spending power.   

A new survey of retailers has found 64 percent did not meet sales targets in the first three months of this year, and almost a third were not sure if they will survive the next 12 months.  

Wellington boutique homeware store Cranfields is already calling it quits after 33 years.  

"We've weathered a few storms in that time," owner Nicola Cranfield told Newshub.

"This downturn, we've really noticed people taking a lot of care over their purchasing decisions."  

 But despite the spending slowdown, New Zealand Post does not regret its big spend-up on parcel processing infrastructure.  

"It's part of a cycle, and if you look at global trends, demand for online shopping has continued and will continue into the future," Walsh said.  

He calls it an inter-generational investment, made with faith that the economy will rise again.