It will be recalled last year shortly after STUFF was sold for a dollar to a Christchurch woman and a new female editor was appointed for the Dominion Post, then as with its New Zealand wide fleet of papers, all with collapsing circulations, an extraordinary event occurred.
Specifically, these two women decided to hit their readers with a week-long, six page assault, starting with the front page, totally devoted to maori wonderfulness. To hell with news.
To add to this outrage, the consistent theme was an apology for their past racism, much of which they out-lined.
This libel caused outrage with past editors, some of whom complained bitterly.
It was all rank nonsense, such as the claim they’d never had a maori editor. I started my first weekly column in 1966 in one of their papers, edited by the late Jim Webber who’d have been amused to hear he was not a maori.
Anyway, that was it for me (and I know, numerous others) and as I wrote on this Blog at the time, I had no intention of renewing my annual subscription.
It arose (from memory) in about September yet unasked they continued delivering the rag for another two months. What subsequently followed was a letter claiming I owed them for a year’s subscription.
I ignored it but eventually the half-wit girl copped an earful when she threatened me with the terrifying prospect of, brace yourself, a debt collector’s pointless letter.
Thereafter at about fortnightly intervals, a different individual would write claiming I owed them, always quoting wildly different amounts.
One actually phoned my office to say she’d like to come over to talk me into renewing, which is pretty desperate stuff.
In all, six different individuals wrote in the first three months, one having the gall to say, with no regard to contractual law, that on their web-site were warnings that they automatically renewed.
I replied pointing out that on my web-site I reserved the right to claim a Stuff employee should cut my lawns each week and asked her to call to make arrangements.
All of this barrage, apart from reflecting financial desperation, amounted to an attempted fraud. I duly pointed this out to one of them whereupon a three-week lull followed.
Then I received a letter of apology from a fresh individual and advice that they’d dropped their claim.
A week later yet another individual wrote saying the same and over the subsequent fortnight two more, always different names, wrote apologising.
Well, that was about March, then lo and behold a few days ago the illiterate letter printed below came in. One more and I’ll lay a complaint of attempted fraud with the Police.
Over my long life I’ve never encountered such a circus of spectacular mismanagement, and mind-blowing incompetence.
They’re in the practise of tossing their paper, now sadly reduced to a pitiful rag, into the foyers of some of my buildings, so if in the office I look at it and do the two crosswords.
As for the contents, what can I say? They still labour under the belief that their readers, such as they still exist, are not interested in news but instead yearn for maori wonderfulness nonsense.
What staggers me is that there’s anyone left actually paying for this rubbish.