Federated Farmers reckon New Zealand farmers are economic rock stars and want to invite Johnny Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) to visit so they can show him just how good dairy produce is when it comes from free range cows.
This invitation has been mooted because the former member of the Sex Pistols has been fronting advertisements In Britain urging people to buy British butter because – he says – it’s better.
“Never mind the butter, it’s the quality of the milk what counts,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy vice-chairperson.
“While all milk may contain the same basic properties, kiwi cows are in a league of their own.
“Grazing outdoors on GM free grass and natural winter feed makes for happy cows and fantastic quality milk. This milk is crafted into quality butter and other dairy products and the only thing holding us back in the UK, is the European Union’s ridiculous tariff barriers.
“One of our senior staff members, David Broome, lived in the UK for seven years. He tried Country Life Butter, once, and described it to me in colourful terms that Johnny Rotten would understand.
“David said only hand crafted but expensive British butter matched New Zealand butter for quality. The difference being that New Zealand butter can readily be found by British consumers in their local supermarket and convenience stores.
“New Zealand butter and dairy products, like our wine, is a taste revelation.
“New Zealand’s climate and quality pasture means we are in an agricultural sweet spot. British consumers literally taste freedom when they eat New Zealand butter.
“While I’d like to think of dairy farmers as being the rock stars of the New Zealand economy, I’d be pleased to host that old punk rocker, John Lyndon, on my farm.
While he’s not casting aspersions on our butter, jokes aside, all primary producers need to be very careful about what we say about produce from other countries.
We may compete in the market but we should be allies in the battle against unscientific claims on production methods and quality. There’s more than enough unfounded claims based on emotion making life difficult for farmers and manufacturers of primary produce without people in the industry adding to it.
Attempts to woo consumers by putting them off competitors’ products might backfire and put them off those products regardless of where they come from.
There is one good thing about the ad, though. It might show anyone who still thinks a Buy Kiwi-Made campaign is a good the idea that it’s not, because we can’t say it’s better for us to buy local while exhorting people elsewhere to buy our exports.