Govt failing New Zealand's '100% Pure' brand

Updated: 2013-08-13 15:12


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WELLINGTON - The Fonterra botulism scare has "exploded" New Zealand's "100 percent Pure" marketing brand, which was already being undermined by the government, a senior New Zealand academic said Tuesday.

New Zealand needed to clean up its act and live up to its promises, said Professor Juliet Roper, head of Waikato University' s Institute of Business Research Sustainability Research Group.

"We've seen it teetering but we've always managed to get away with it," Roper said in a statement. "This time it's exploded."

The Fonterra scandal, which saw 38 tonnes of whey protein contaminated with a bacterium that can cause botulism, was an accident waiting to happen and "if it wasn't them it would be someone else."

The challenge was living up to the "100 percent Pure" slogan, but that lacked commitment from the government, she said.

"We have a government that is quite happy to use the brand but not back it up in practice. There have been a succession of policies coming from them that are not taking the environment into account," said Roper.

"I think we have got to clean up our act, it's too valuable not to do it. Primary produce and tourism both benefit from it."

Proactive measures being taken by some industries could be undermined when other industries and the government failed to work to the same overall plan.

New Zealand has been criticized in recent months for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol and watering down its emissions trading scheme, while the government has actively sought to encourage oil and gas and minerals exploration among other policies affecting the environment.