New Zealand – Declaration of force majeure and measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19

2020-03-27

The designated operator of New Zealand, New Zealand Post, asks us to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators of the measures taken to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

With effect from 25 March 2020, the Government of New Zealand has raised the COVID-19 alert level to 4 (the highest level), declared a national state of emergency, and introduced wide-ranging measures that include self-isolation for four weeks across the entire country, limitation of the number of staff working to provide essential services and the implementation of skeleton operating staffs, and a ban on domestic travel.

New Zealand Post has been identified by the Government as a business entity that provides essential services to the people of New Zealand. Therefore, New Zealand Post will remain in operation during the alert level 4 lockdown period, insofar as possible under the state of emergency provisions and regulations in place.

Owing to the above restrictions, New Zealand Post can no longer guarantee service delivery standards (such as delivery times and other quality parameters, transmission of scanning events, QOS link to terminal dues) applicable under UPU provisions and related bilateral and multilateral agreements (such as PRIME and EMS) with designated operators and any interested third parties. It is therefore invoking a situation of force majeure in relation to any such standards, including the application of penalty payments (such as pay for performance), until further notice.

A number of measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of both customers and staff, effective until further notice. These include the following:

  • Delivery changes: New Zealand Post has changed the way in which items requiring signature are delivered, so as to eliminate the need for customers to use scanners. The delivery staff will knock at the door as usual, step back away from the door, and ask for the recipient’s name to record proof of delivery. In this way, the need for any physical contact is eliminated (EmIS 113/2020).
  • Over-the-counter services have been discontinued with effect from 25 March. This will help to reduce the risk of social transmission of the virus for both staff and customers. It will also mean a reduction in the capacity to accept international outbound items, and a reduction in export volumes is therefore to be expected while alert level 4 remains in effect.
  • Businesses that are deemed to provide essential services are still able to send their products.
  • Owing to the suspension of many flights and the resulting reduction in transport capacity, New Zealand Post is limited in its ability to send outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to a number of Union member countries. Please visit www.nzpost.co.nz/contact-support/international-mail-updates for up-to-date information on the affected countries.

New Zealand Post will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and will actively follow the guidance and safety recommendations issued by the Government of New Zealand.

New Zealand Post thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding. It will update them via EmIS once the situation has returned to normal.