NZPost vs Universal Mail vs Canada Post

New Zealand’s postal system is much like Canada’s, in that it is a large, government run entity (NZ Post). But for tourists there is another option, with ‘Universal Mail’ stamps in most tourist shops. The stamps are often much more touristy, showing pictures of areas, compared to NZPost’s which are all of the same general image. Using Universal Mail cost the same as NZPost to send a postcard internationally, but how is the speed? Research shows they use a courier, DHL for moving the mail international. And how about in reverse, sending from Canada to New Zealand? Curious to see the difference, I got Donna back in Sarnia to help me with a little experiment. A postal race across the pacific.

From my side in Ohakune, I dropped both postcards in the mail on October 16th, a Sunday. This was done on purpose to ensure that they both have an equal start – Monday morning, or whenever mail was collected that day. So the first day of movement was considered October 17th. On Donna’s side, after a difficult search to actually find a postcard with Sarnia on it, she dropped a postcard  in the mail on October 17th – which would be October 18th for me. She posted it from the post office so it would get sent that day.

The results:

On October 25th (24th in Canada), the NZPost postcard found it’s way to Donna. Total travel time was 9 days including the weekend.

On November 4th (3rd in Canada), the Canada Post postcard arrived in my hands in Ohakune. Total travel time was 18 days including weekends.

Finally, on November 5th (4th in Canada), the Universal Mail postcard arrived in Sarnia. Total travel time was 20 days including weekends.

The difference between NZPost and Universal Mail wasn’t too much of a shock to me. I hate DHL and have had nothing but issues with them when shipping items (thankfully I’ve only needed to use them very rarely). And I had sent out postcards earlier using Universal Mail and had noted that it took nearly a month for them to arrive, where as NZPost has usually been about a week or so. Even though both cost the exact same amount, they must use vastly different methods. Donna noted that the Universal mail had been stamped for passing through Malaysia. I think it took the slow boat to Canada.

The surprising part was Canada Post vs. NZPost. I had figured those two to be very similar – Once in Canada, the NZPost mail is handled by Canada Post, and vice versa here in NZ. Both were sent via AirMail and have the sticker for it. Both are government run agencies. Both have to deal with a very spread out population including numerous rural spots (I was sending from a fairly remote area myself). Yet, NZPost firmly trounced Canada Post timewise. I can only hypothesize that the traverse through Canada was the difference. I assume my postcard travelled to Auckland and boarded a plane there, and stayed on the plane until Toronto. After that it was trucked to Sarnia and delivered. After Donna dropped her postcard in the mail, I can envision it travelling by ground to Vancouver before getting on a plane there and continuing on it’s way to New Zealand. That would explain some of the difference at least. The other is that Canada Post simply isn’t as efficient. In it’s defence, it’s a much larger company looking after a much larger population and landmass.

Either way, it did settle for me one thing. I won’t be touching Universal Mail again.

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