READER REPORT:

Beware the Countdown 'boycott brigade'

MAHARA TAHUHU
Last updated 08:00 14/02/2014

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OPINION: One of the big issues at the moment is the perceived insult by Australia to New Zealand by "banning" New Zealand products and produce from their Woolworths and Coles stores.

The backlash has been frankly unnerving.

Kiwis everywhere are taking to Countdown's Facebook page (as the same company owns Woolworths in Australia) or their website to tell the operators how evil they are.

They smugly announce how much they spent at rival supermarkets which (they claim) they might have otherwise spent in Countdown, or dramatically announce they will NEVER shop at Countdown AGAIN.

Some are outright abusing or threatening the chain or people who may wish to continue to shop there. They are making "Boycott Countdown" Facebook pages.

This carry-on continues in the comments sections of news websites.

It is all rather childish and petty, and reeks of a gigantic tantrum.

Countdown New Zealand has become the scapegoat for the decisions of Australian CEOs to the degree where the reaction is becoming embarrassing.

It is a mindless, mob mentality. This crowd is forgetting that a brand name is just a brand name. Sure, some of their profits go back to Australia, but Countdown has no choice in this matter as they are Australian-owned. Apparently, that is a crime now.

Speaking of Australian owned, the committed crowd loudly clamour that they are going to reject anything originating from or made in Australia to "show those Australians you don't mess with New Zealand!!". And they urge others to follow suit.

Really? How is that going to solve anything? Think of the implications: to make good on their threats these people have to stop banking with Westpac, ANZ, ASB or any other Australian-owned or affiliated banks. No more trips to Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Bunnings, Kmart or Super Cheap Auto. No more Holdens. No more Mrs Macs Pies, Brumby's bakeries, Dole, Kellogs, Kraft, Arnotts, Inghams ... the list goes on.

Are Kiwis really so petty as to go tit for tat just because Australia wants to give their own growers and farmers a bigger share of their market?

Effectively, the boycott brigade contradict themselves. They infer that we should buy New Zealand made, and so should everyone else, even if it disadvantages the export country's local growers and farmers.

Boycotting Countdown on this basis alone serves no positive purpose. All it does is potentially put tens of thousands of New Zealand jobs at risk.

The boycott brigade seems to have forgotten that New Zealanders work for and supply to Countdown. They will be the first to feel the negative effects if sufficient numbers of the population turn their backs on this chain.

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If there are fewer customers, there will be fewer shifts for floor and checkout staff. If less product is sold, people working in the deli, the bakery, and the butchery will lose shifts because there is less demand for the foods they have a hand in producing and presenting.

Warehouse staff will lose shifts when orders drop - fewer orders means fewer deliveries.

Fewer deliveries means suppliers lose out.

Boycotting causes a chain reaction that will be felt in New Zealand.

Australia will lose a few profits but Countdown employees and suppliers lose wages. They become collateral damage from a knee-jerk reaction.

See sense, show maturity. Think of who you're really hurting with a boycott. 


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