HYPOCRITICAL OATH: ‘We will support you’


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I’m the first to admit that sometimes I get it wrong. I try to be true to my word and follow through on commitments when I make pledges. But sometimes I forget, or circumstances take over and I find, often inadvertently, I’ve broken my word.

For example, in January I pledged to try harder to keep in contact with a couple of my oldest friends. I messaged one of them today for the first time since January. That’s a fail in anyone’s book, but I didn’t consciously choose to fail – I didn’t decide not to contact my friend for three months – circumstances simply overtook me and life got in the way.

Some of you will no doubt say, “That’s a copout – an excuse for self-absorbed laziness.”

But, in my defence, I meant it when I said, ‘I will try harder.’ Although I thought about it more, I just didn’t follow-through quickly.

Yet, if I got a message from the same friend today saying, “I’m unwell and I’ve been given six months to live”, I’d be on the phone and on a flight instantly.

We have to prioritise and with the best will in the world, sometimes the, ‘Hello, how’s the weather there?’ phone call just doesn’t make the cut … and sometimes the, ‘Just tell me what I can do, I’m on my way’ call does.

Our team at Bay of Plenty Business News works hard to provide interesting and useful news and information to businesspeople across the Bay of Plenty.

We also know that numerous successful businesses across the region rely on Business News to communicate and promote themselves – their people, their products and their services – to the business community. Sometimes businesses advertise, and sometimes we help tell their stories.

We’ve always seen BOP Business News as the oil that lubricates the local commerce machine – the voice of local business.

Business leaders have repeatedly said, “Thanks, we love the business coverage”, and have been quick to let us know if we’ve ever got something wrong (which of course hardly ever happens).

In my column from February 2023 titled I’m just popping into the dairy! I wrote: ”… there are lots of items which will certainly be cheaper at the supermarket, but I couldn’t live without my dairy … the dairy is for me as much part of our community infrastructure as the public swimming pool, the library and the local primary school – only I use the dairy far more frequently.”

Since that column was published, I have been true to my word and continued to support the dairy by using it, because I value it.

Vikram and Pushpa do a great job and as I say to my neighbours, “we need to keep using the dairy, so we don’t lose it.”

Staff from two prominent businesses this month sent us news releases asking us to publish them, but when asked to consider advertising, responded curtly: ‘budgets are fully allocated and [in one case] we’re only going national.’

I pondered why they’d bothered to send me the press release then, if ‘only going national’ was their new modus operandi.

Ironically one of those businesses phoned me to complain only last month that their regular print copies of BOP Business News hadn’t been delivered to their reception.

In both cases the websites of those two businesses state they are proudly local and support their local business communities.

Both are large companies.

Both employ a lot of local people.

Both have multi-million-dollar marketing budgets.

Neither has any qualms about asking for free coverage, but both balked at the suggestion they could buy advertising and in so doing endorse the local business voice BOP Business News provides.

This is disappointing from companies whose executives have said openly, “We value Bay of Plenty Business News and we will support you.”

Like I said, sometimes we forget, or circumstances take over and we find we’ve inadvertently broken our word.

Every business must scrutinise overhead spending, particularly when the economic environment is challenging. But I ask those businesses that value their local business ecosystem to please back it, not just take from it.

To those businesses who do back our local business economy and continue to work with us: ‘Good on you!’ We can clearly see in the pages of Business News, online and in our annual magazines who those businesses are. Support them.

To those organisations who choose to only ‘shop at the supermarket’ I say, ‘don’t forget us’, because like the local dairy, I think the community would be weakened if we weren’t here.

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Alan Neben
Alan Neben
Alan Neben is a Mount Maunganui local and experienced New Zealand publisher. His columns provide a light-hearted perspective on social changes effecting New Zealanders

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