Friday, 08 May 2020 13:09

The sniff test — Editorial

Written by  Staff Reporters
Former Prime Minister John Key. Former Prime Minister John Key.

Former Prime Minister John Key said, at the start of the Level 4 Lockdown, that businesses should be concerned about their reputations.

“Companies should apply the front page of the newspaper test to understand how its actions and announcements are perceived,” he explained. 

This should be the test that the New Zealand National Fieldays Society employs to its more than 1100 exhibitors.

Rural News has outlined how Fieldays is playing the long game when it comes to the question of refunds.  In the last week or so, it has come off the fence and offered three choices. Exhibitors can either roll over their 2020 fees as a credit for the 2021 event, use the site payments to take part in a Fieldays Online website, or accept a refund of 80% of the pre-paid fees.

It is also refusing to refund ‘Premium Reserve Fees’ – paid to secure preferred sites. Rural News has sighted correspondence on the matter, where an account manager comes up with an illogical reply: “regarding the Premium Reserve site fees – these are non-refundable as soon as they are paid.”

It is interesting to compare other organisations, who found themselves in a similar place to Fieldays: Stuff Events, the organisers of The Central Districts Field Days, had to cancel its event at one week’s notice. However, it gave all exhibitors a 100% refund in the days that followed. Likewise, the Sheepmilk NZ organisation had to cancel its national conference and refunded all monies on the day of the cancellation.

By contrast, Fieldays had 87 days to run until the event in mid-June. But is only planning to give partial refunds commencing on June 20 – a full two months after the event should have been canned and a lifetime in the cashflow of many of its exhibitors.

A survey by the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) – which represents the majority of tractor and machinery importers, distributors and manufacturers – threw up some interesting responses. Some 92% of companies were not interested in Fieldays Online, 75% would not attend a Fieldays event if it’s rescheduled for later in the year and 70% want a full refund of their pre-paid site fees.

The Fieldays marketing machine tells us every year that it’s worth over $500 million to the NZ economy. Not bad, were it true, for a $12.4 million business, that operates as a charity, pays no taxes and generates a $770,000 surplus (year ending 30 Sept 2019). 

Perhaps it’s time for the good folks at Mystery Creek to start thinking about their reputation, if it’s not too late!

More like this

Wine tour woes

Bookings for premium wine tours “vanished” when New Zealand’s borders closed, say operators struggling under Covid-19.

Vintage update

Wine companies, large and small, are grappling with the potential shortage of a reliable labour force for vintage 2021, with borders closed to international workers.

Covid-19 a big hit to small wineries

Losing boutique wineries to Covid-19 would be a blow for New Zealand’s wine industry, say the authors of a new report into challenges for small operators.

Digital juice

Covid-19, e-commerce and the risk of digital debt.

Open doors

As wineries enter the spring season, many opening cellar doors after a period of Covid-19 closure, the mood appears one of cautious optimism.

Featured

Meat quota rates remain vital

A jump in the value and volume of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports to Europe and the UK shows why preserving WTO tariff-rate quotas is so important, claims the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

 

Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak, according to the BNZ.

National

It’s all kosher – Taggart

Farmer-owned cooperative Alliance Group says it has already returned $17 million of the $34.3 million it claimed from the Covid-19…

Machinery & Products

JCB releases new loader range

Originally scheduled for a June Fieldays release, which was stymied by the Covid crisis, JCB has recently unveiled its third…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

He's back!

OPINION: This old mutt understands that former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has landed himself a new gig back in his…

Utu?

OPINION: Your canine crusader understands that the farmer’s favourite politician – Environment Minister David Parker – not content with implementing…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter