John Oliver mocked as 'B-grade American celeb' for launching campaign to win Bird of the Century

It looks as if the Bird of the Century campaign is embracing a bit of dirty politics. 

Forest and Bird normally run a Bird of the Year competition, but this year it's taking a step up as the organisation seeks to find the Bird of the Century to celebrate its 100th year.   

Following the overnight announcement that US talk show host John Oliver had launched an "alarmingly aggressive" campaign for Pūteketeke to win Bird of the Century - which involved billboards in countries across the world - the Vote Kiwi campaign has claimed it's a case of a "B- grade American celeb" interfering in Aotearoa's affairs. 

"It's shocking, to be honest. New Zealand politics haven't been too flash lately and everyone campaigning in Bird of the Century was hoping to have a break from all that palaver," Vote Kiwi campaign manager Erin Reilly said in a tongue-in-cheek statement. 

"We're here to have a little fun. On behalf of all bird species campaigning in Bird of the Century, the last thing we want to deal with is a random B-grade American celeb swooping in and hijacking this iconic competition." 

Reilly also claimed Oliver doesn't even like birds.  

"He doesn't even like New Zealand, to be honest. Any time we feature on his show it's so he can laugh at us. He's done dancing dildos, Laser Kiwi, New Zealand being left off maps all the time - we're the butt of his jokes and he's doing it again with his campaign to get Pūteketeke to the top.  

"I mean, he said it himself: this is a classic example of America interfering in foreign elections. We Kiwis need to band together and take Bird of the Century back." 

The campaign also released a video in which the likes of Sir Graham Henry, Dame Lisa Carrington and rocker Peter Urlich all threw their support behind the kiwi to win the Bird of the Century competition. 

However, Oliver has already galvanised voters around the world, with advertisements in Mumbai, Tokyo, Paris, London, Brazil and the US urging people to vote for the Pūteketeke. 

"The point is we are going all out for this thing," he said. "I don't just want the Pūteketeke to win, I want it to win in the biggest landslide in the history of this magnificent competition. I want it to do to other Bird of the Century candidates what the Pūteketeke does to fish in New Zealand's lakes - that is eat them alive and then throw them back up in a ball of feathers - because frankly there is no bird on earth more deserving of the title of Bird of the Century than this one right here." 

The launch of the campaign on the show subsequently crashed the Forest and Bird website. 

On Tuesday morning, a Forest and Bird spokesperson told Newshub despite the website having some "wobbles" following the 'Lord of the Wings' segment airing in the US, all the votes would be counted.