If you deliver something, and ask people to pay for it, you need to get it right.

Especially when you deliver a newspaper that occasionally is holding other people to account for poor service.

It's been a bumpy few weeks for subscribers of Hawke's Bay Today.

As I've been sharing with a few subscribers directly, our service at the moment isn't good enough and we need to widely acknowledge that.


We now bring the paper down from Auckland - it is printed on a press that prints most of the North Island's papers.

Our research and analysis before we began printing the paper in Auckland told us that we can present the paper to subscribers on time.

The practical application of that research has not gone as smoothly as we would have liked.

Dannevirke is the southern-most point that we deliver papers in bulk to, before they are taken further on their journey by contractors.

We can land the paper in Dannevirke by 5am. But we need to do it six days a week. And we're not there yet.

Our research and analysis told us that, from a commercial perspective, the move had to be made.

It's a business decision and anyone in business will know there are times when you make decisions that can be easy, because the financial route you should take is clear. But they are also hard because they affect people. We had to make that decision. And having done so, two weeks ago, we began printing the paper in Auckland.

That means we have to print it earlier than we have done before, 7.45pm, and there will be some sacrifices. Rugby results for example, from 7.35pm kick-offs.


Although we are reporting those results faster than before, on our website www.hawkesbaytoday.co.nz.

We also know that the Napier-Taupo road closes in winter. We have a contingency plan around an alternative route, when we know in advance that State Highway 5 is closed, or likely to be closed. Unfortunately, yesterday morning that wasn't an option.

The paper was bang on schedule and our delivery vehicle came across a truck accident on SH5.

It is one of several occasions in the past few weeks that the paper hasn't been on time, and we are working on it.

We have 48,000 to 50,000 readers, and 85 per cent of you get the paper in your letterbox. So when we don't get it to you on time, we are failing to provide you with the service you are paying for. Ask for a credit for that day, so we don't bill you. I would.

One day, this might not be an issue, because our news will be consumed entirely online.

That's a long way off though, there will always be newspapers, I think. Like vinyl, they will never completely go out of style.

In the meantime, there is a lot of life left in the Hawke's Bay Today. Or Hawke's Bay Yesterday, as one person jokingly suggested yesterday.

Dannevirke is the litmus test for us - we need to be there at 5am. And if we are, then all else will have gone well.

I've invited a Dannevirke subscriber to contact me direct on how their delivery is going, so I can pass on some direct market feedback to our printing and delivery team. We truly appreciate the patience that subscribers have shown, and I sincerely hope we landed in your letterbox on time this morning.