Of course it is an overreaction. It’s bloody ridiculous

Why do we always go off the deep end when these things happen?

As New Zealanders move on from Fonterra’s botulism food safety fiasco, disillusioned Chinese people are cancelling their plane tickets to this country.

While Kiwis’ faith in Fonterra is bruised, China’s trust in New Zealand is shattered, say experts in the culture of our biggest export customer.

“The injury is very deep,” says expat David Mahon, a veteran investment adviser in Beijing.

“People have cancelled visits to New Zealand because it is not 100 per cent pure,” says Massey University associate professor of marketing Henry Chung, who has studied the Chinese market for more than 20 years.

“After this event, the Chinese consumer and the (Chinese) government cannot tolerate any more. If anything happens again, any explanation will be considered redundant.

“This is the last chance to get it right.”

This just defies all logic.

Food recalls happen all the time.  But only if it happens to Fonterra, and when nobody even got a slightly upset stomach, let alone died, the whole country’s exports are on notice?

I call bullshit.

There is, so far, no health crisis. But it seems our relationship with our biggest export market, which accounted for $2 billion of Fonterra revenue last year, is on a knife edge.

Chung and Mahon say the reason is simple: Fonterra IS New Zealand, and New Zealand and China had a unique and long relationship.

Mahon says: “New Zealand has been trusted more than nearly every other OECD country. We were in a special category and have been viewed that way since 1949 (the year of the communist revolution).”

“There is an unbroken relationship of trust that New Zealand was different. In the space of 12 months we have managed to unravel that. ”

Chung, who migrated to New Zealand from Taiwan 20 years ago, says Chinese people are very aware that New Zealand was the first country to recognise their government, and the first country with which they signed a free trade agreement.

“People in China are asking a very interesting question – ‘if New Zealand [product] is no good, who else is good?’. That is being asked by a lot of consumers.


Well, I have news for these Mahon and Chung traitors:  “People” in New Zealand think you’re full of scaremongering shit.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.