NZ dairy industry looks to improve tainted image

  • Breaking
  • 16/08/2010

By Hamish Clark

New Zealand dairy farmers have launched a $2 million ad campaign after recent bad press surrounding the industry.

The most recent scandal was Fonterra’s link to a Chinese milk powder that allegedly caused breast growth in babies.

Fonterra’s involvement in the scandal was disproved this week, but it is not the first incident to taint the credibility of the New Zealand dairy industry.

The new ad campaign looks to reconnect with townies and get them interested in life on the farm.

DairyNZ has launched a new campaign comparing our size and status with the rest of the world.

There’s even countries with more cows more rain and more sun than us - pushing the line that despite being small, we lead the world in dairy production.

“For us we are trying to build a stronger connection with the wider New Zealand public, between them and the dairy industry,” says Dr Tim Mackle of DairyNZ.

The industry is up against it at home. A recent survey found that only one in 10 Kiwis has any connection with life down on the farm.

“I think the dairy industry is going well, I think there has been bad press between farming and town, and I think a lot of it is blown out of proportion,” says Canterbury farmer Dean Geddes.

The publicity has been damaging. The Chinese milk formula scandal came amidst concerns of ruined rivers and polluted water supplies due to dairy farming.

“There are still 40 percent non-compliance with resource consents on dairy farms and 8 percent serious non-compliance but recovery of these ecosystems are going to take decades, if not generations,” says Ross Millichamp of North Canterbury Fish and Game.

Mr Mackle says the industry realises there are some serious issues to address.

“We have got issues to work through particularly around footprint and effluent management as well,” he says.

The dairy industry hopes the campaign will at least be a start to bridging the gap between town and country.

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source: newshub archive