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War Economy



In New Zealand almost all communications are the responsibility of the Government, and are administered by the Post and Telegraph Department. This Department also operates a Post Office Savings Bank and, because of its many branches, acts as agent for a variety of government transactions.

The Post and Telegraph Department lost some 6000 men to the armed forces, out of a total staff of 12,000. These losses were partly offset by the engagement of 4000 women for clerical work, telegram, parcel and letter delivery, driving and light manual work. In wartime the Department was called upon to provide communications facilities for New Zealand and United States military installations in New Zealand. Post offices also administered national savings accounts and handled a variety of other special war work, but there was a marked decline in some of the Department's normal activities. For example, the number of letters carried fell by 14 per cent from 1939 to 1945.