We’re living a lie in New Zealand. We tell ourselves and we tell the world that we’re this amazingly environmentally conscious and sustainable country when, in fact, we’ve turned most of it into a giant farm, most of the rivers are unsafe to swim due to the farm run-off, and it would be worse, we just haven’t had the time. The Fonterra scandal may be the final straw for the 100% Pure slogan.
Of course, John Key says that 100% Pure is just a brand and everyone knows that we’re not an untouched virgin land. Well, maybe, but when you go to the world and market yourself on your nature and your cleanliness, people are going to, with justification, expect you to live up to the promise.
What the world is seeing with this latest Fonterra scandal is that New Zealand isn’t all it makes itself out to be. The damage isn’t just to Fonterra, it’s our whole brand – the whole reason that people prefer New Zealand goods and choose to visit New Zealand unravelling. We are losing the trust of the people we trade with on the very point that is our competitive advantage.
And it’s the lose of that brand, or rather the trust that got people to buy into that brand, which will hurt New Zealand long after the Fonterra scandal dies. But we have no-one to blame but ourselves. We’ve been living a lie and telling the rest of the world that lie, too.