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Campbell and McCarten on McKay

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, March 30th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: auckland supercity - Tags: ,

The latest piece from the ever excellent Gordon Campbell has a go at the beat up of North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams. Towards the end he raises some interesting points about Auckland’s new boss. Campbell writes:

If the proximity of alcohol to those in power is an issue, I would have thought that Matt McCarten’s most recent column in the NZ Herald flags a far bigger story, and a much more pressing problem. Rodney Hide’s choice to be the first CEO of the Supercity will be Doug McKay who as McCarten explains has been responsible, in his other role as the chief of Independent Liquor, for targeting the sale of flavoured alcohol drinks to the youth market, via alco-pop drinks that have been a particular favourite of teenage girls. McKay’s firm has made hundreds of millions of dollars out of this ethically dubious trade. McCarten explains how Auckland’s new civic leader customarily plies his wares :

Their innovation is they promote spirits mixed with soft drink and give them trendy names and designs to appeal to younger drinkers.

They market their lollipop-bottled alcohol as RTDs (ready to drink) in four-packs.Their marketing strategy is awesomely calculated. They scan the web identifying trends in culture. Based on what they find, they design a brand such as Woodstock, KGB, Pulse or Cruiser. .They design the labels and promotional materials first. After that, they then make up an alcoholic drink with lots of sugary additives and flavourings.

They make a batch and trial it at parties where young trendsetters hang out. They sponsor huge music events at which their products are given out freely.

The latest ploy is to find emerging bands and massively blanket market their product wherever that band goes.The booze is guzzled down like lollywater by mainly young girls.

Sounds like a great guy. Oh, and McKay’s firm also has a notorious reputation, according to McCarten, for its union-busting tactics, and treatment of staff. It is those revelations that should be triggering calls for resignation this morning, and not on the North Shore.

17 comments on “Campbell and McCarten on McKay ”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    But drug dealers have to something vaguely public servicey before you give them a Knighthood.

  2. Ianmac 2

    Is it possible that the Andrew blow-up is a deliberate distraction to the Mckay appointment- alcohol element especially?
    Hide appoints Mckay
    Hide leads the charge against Williams
    Mckay un-noticed.

  3. prism 3

    I was happy when the Independent Liquor chap’s helicopter went down and he went with it. Not a good look? The people who get rich from selling alcololly water which is known to encourage young people to drink, and then they get drunk so easily are just drug pushers. But quote from the Irish item Let’s not repeat Ireland’s mistakes yesterday –
    “the business world where moral vice turns into practical virtue.’
    The man McKay has made quads of money – he is a successful, wealthy businessman in a legal business, end of story.

    The country’s governments are revenue whores who allow unhealthy things like alcopops to be sold under loose controls, yet keep marijuana illegal. And why, because the money-in-hand from tax on a legalised, controlled trade of marijuana goes against the established alcohol interests (extra competition in the market from an economic viewpoint) and the returns to party and person not as handy as the pipelines from mass alcohol dealing.

    • grumpier 3.1

      Prism who lowered the drinking age in NZ ?

      Would you be happy if they were dead as well ?

      • Sam 3.1.1

        Do you think that there wouldn’t be alcopops marketed at young women if the age had not dropped? I like your optimism of the essential decency of the market, but it just seems completely unfounded. To me at least.

        But it’s sure as shit clear who stood to benefit the most by their target market expanding by 2 or 3 years (whatever it was before, 20 or 21? I forget). And this is a staunch labourite saying that.

      • prism 3.1.2

        No they were just being foolish and short-sighted in the ordinary human way.

    • Winston Smith 3.2

      [You’re currently banned Winston Smith. If you want to comment here you need to stop abusing people — r0b]

    • gobsmacked 3.3

      Please delete Prism’s first sentence. It’s out of order.

      [Out of order I agree, and I hope that prism will think about that. Difficult call but I’m not going to delete it, it’s a first offence from prism, it’s his/her view alone, and he/she can take the lumps and defend it or apologise — r0b]

      • Joe Bloggs 3.3.1

        [email protected] 1:45pm : I was happy when the Independent Liquor chap’s helicopter went down and he went with it.

        Nasty, Prism, very nasty and in very poor taste.

        • prism

          Honest JB and gobsmacked. There are other people as well as drug pushers that we would be better without in this world. People who have done evil things. Saying that out loud merely acknowledges the harsh reality that some people make good money preying on others weaknesses and ruining or causing the loss of their lives.

          The heat and passion can be high here when its a case of a politician swearing or rorting but not at harmful social predators piling up wealth. Are you sure your values are in balance?

  4. tc 4

    Union busting..Check; Dodgy staff treatment…Check, No local government experience…Check.

    Wanted: A CEO with relevant experience running a fractured entity brought together kicking and screaming by various poorly written acts of parliament and making it a coherent unified organisation where none ever existed before.

    It’s all no care no responsibility with pretty much all these cobbled together entities the NACT have created. Can see the PR spin now don’t blame me I didn’t create it I just try and run it, nice work if you can get it…..these jokers know it’s a gravy train they’ll ride till turfed off.

    It’s hardly a sound career move is it with an election in 2011…..oi you, come here you’ll do, we’ll make it worth your while.

  5. Zaphod Beeblebrox 5

    Might be interesting when the Local Boards start asking Auckland Council to ban liquor outlets in their areas. Guess who will be allocating and employing the staff who are supposed to helping them put up the business case.

  6. There is also Rob Fisher, barrister who is in charge of the legal workstream of the ATA and is also a current director of two Rio Tinto subsidiaries. I hope he has nothing to do with the spatial plan.

  7. Anne 7

    @ Tigger
    You are correct. He has a motive for everything he says and does. Back in the 1990s, he used to boast about articles that would appear in the newspapers – Herald in particular. Grinning like a cheshire cat I remember him saying once “that’s got my footprints all over it”. I used to wonder at times where, and with whom, the footprints had originally been.

  8. Jenny 8

    Matt McCarten’s article in the Herald on Sunday on the quality of the ACT anointed private sector boss selected to run the Super City over the heads of it’s elected representatives is very accurate.


    Though one the Independent liquor products McCarten missed out was Cowboy, a heavily sweetened milk flavoured product laced with spirits, with a nice picture of a cowboy astride a bucking bronco as the label, just the thing to tempt kids into drinking.

    The spirit used by Independent Liquor in their flavoured drinks is pure alcohol made from distilled whey, a waste product from the dairy industry, which IL buy by the tanker load for very little, what also arrives daily by tanker load is liquid sugar, the huge amount of sweetening used by IL in their products is necessary, because it has been determined that young people generally don’t like the bitter taste of alcohol, so to get them hooked you have to heavily mask it.

    That such an immoral individual has now been undemocratically given so much power and control over Auckland’s public assets, is the real scandal, not that someone opposed to the Super City was seen peeing on a tree.

    That 75% of Auckland’s public assets will now be out of control of the elected councillors and in the hands of a political appointee of the extreme right, is little short of a coup.

    Remaining Local Body Democracy in Auckland is now at serious risk of becoming merely window dressing.

    P.S. In 2002, after a heavy drinking session, three teenage girls 14, 15 and 18 attacked a 60 year old man in an attempt to steal his car, killing him and throwing his body in the Whanganui river. What’s the link you might ask?

    In TV news footage of the crime scene, prominently scattered in the road around the dead man’s vehicle were several empty cans of Independent Liquor product, Woodstock Bourbon and Cola.

    Since then, in TV the following news stories about teen drinking, the product labels were pixilated out, so you couldn’t identify the products the under aged teens were consuming. There can be very little doubt that lawyers acting on behalf of IL had something to do with this blanket media policy.

    Is this scandal in the same league as peeing on a tree?

    Should the manager of such a company, be allowed any role in public service, especially without any mandate from anyone except extreme right wing politicians and other like minded business leaders?

  9. prism 9

    Interesting Jenny and thinking about one point – the whey. I think that it used to be a cheap nutritional by-product sold to pig farms. They say that they are having trouble making a buck (and implicitly have to adopt their abhorrent practices so we can have our bacon and ham from local sources, I don’t know about the imported pork producers standards).

    It would be unfortunate if the making of these cunning alcopop drink grenades was using a product that is now denied to pig farmers for their animals, causing stress on their finances, bad practices and, ultimately on the prices the consumer pays.

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