Every now and then someone will gently suggest (or not so gently in the case of some councillors) that BayBuzz is too critical, too negative.
I listen carefully to that, because I do intend BayBuzz to be a force for positive change.
The conundrum is that to stimulate change or improvement, one needs to first focus attention on problems and criticize the status quo. For example, one doesn’t achieve improvements in the region’s water quality by maintaining that the water’s fine as is. To achieve any significant positive visions for the region, more often than not some eggs must be broken.
So generally BayBuzz begins from a critical or at least skeptical posture, accepting that not everyone will be pleased.
I raise the issue now because I’ve been thinking about an email I received from someone who ‘unsubscribed’ from the BayBuzz blog feed. This individual, who is associated with a food bank in the region, indicated they wanted to focus on the positive things that were happening in the community.
But I was bothered. BayBuzz has written in print and online about the struggles of our local food banks to meet growing needs. We’ve asked readers to be generous in supporting them. Is that negative?
I’ve made budget submissions to the Napier and Hastings Councils urging more council support for our food banks. In one case, the response was effectively … they haven’t complained to us, so they must be doing OK. I noted recently that the Napier Council issued a media release boasting that it had allocated $74,400 in ‘lifeline’ funding to a variety of voluntary organizations assisting the community … indicating that this represented a contribution of $1.30 from each ratepayer. WOW, that’s social commitment!
Then, a few days ago, just after the aforesaid email, I saw a news item reporting that: “Food banks around the country have empty shelves and no back-up as a wave of need hits New Zealand.” The situation is expected to worsen as Christmas approaches.
I find the food bank situation intolerable in a nation that fancies itself as somehow becoming the mini-breadbasket of South Asia!
So I wish my ‘unsubscriber’ well as she focuses on the positive, while contemplating the empty shelves of the food bank.
But instead of resigning herself to unmet food needs, I’d much rather that she go bang on the doors of mayors and councillors, tell them just how bad the situation is, and ask them what they intend to do about it.
That’s the sort of action that BayBuzz endorses. Is that too negative an approach? I’d welcome your thoughts.
P.S. And speaking of improving the region’s water, don’t miss our HB Water Forum tomorrow (WED) at 7p at Lindisfarne College. Speakers include Russel Norman (Green Party), Hugh Ritchie (CHB farmer and Fed Farmers water advocate), Graham Sevicke-Jones (HBRC’s chief scientist), Morry Black (water advisor to iwi in our region) and myself — a stimulating variety of perspectives on managing our region’s water.