Rest home manager backs postie’s moral stand on scam mail saga

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The manager of a Nelson rest home is praising the postwoman who refused to deliver scam mail to their residents and is slamming  her employer, New Zealand Post, for their “stupid” reaction to the Postiegate incident.

Ernest Rutherford Retirement Village manager Durham Quigley told Nelson Live on Wednesday that “we are very supportive and think she has done the right thing” after the postie refused to deliver scam mail to their elderly and “vulnerable” residents. The postie, who has not been named, stopped delivering the scam mail after she was first shown a US$180,000 lottery scam from Malaysia by a colleague who received it in his own letterbox.

Durham also slated NZ Post for disciplining the postie, and allegedly threatening her with dismissal or a jail sentence, for twice refusing to deliver the scam mail.

“We are very pleased with her in regards to the protection of our residents,” Durham says. “She hasn’t opened the mail or redirected it or anything,  she has just told people there is a scam.

“We are getting this sort of stuff a lot and she was just fulfilling her moral obligation to inform people that this is what’s happening. I’ve been really surprised at NZ Post and the stance they have taken – I think it’s ridiculous.

“She, at least, has a moral conscience and it sounds like NZ Post doesn’t. If  they believe that they are not involved , they are stupid – they are walking away when someone is committing a crime and saying it’s not my responsibility.”

Durham says their residents are “very thankful that she has informed them” about the scam mail.

“We really appreciate what she has done and the support she has given our residents. We are in the business of looking after vulnerable and elderly people and there is no way we can stand back from this sort of thing.”

Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa district president John Maynard earlier said that NZ Post’s actions were concerning.

“It seemed they were trying to discipline her for opening other people’s mail but that wasn’t the case.”

He says he assumes NZ Post management thought the postie had opened the mail to verify it was a scam, which was illegal.

“In fact, she found this out through another postie. She didn’t open anyone’s mail.”

John says the postie’s actions to protect residents, especially the elderly, was impressive.

“We were really impressed with the postie who felt really strongly about this matter and she didn’t want to see people scammed.

“We think it’s very important that New Zealand Post posties are more proactive like this.”

A NZ Post spokesperson earlier denied claims the company had overreacted to the incident. Although the postie had breached conditions of her employment, managers had adopted a reasonable approach to the incident and had not issued a formal warning or threatened her with jail.