A mouthpiece of the Chinese government, said it was time to ask the government of New Zealand about quality control. It called New Zealand's 100 per cent Pure campaign to boost tourism, a "festering sore". The editorial was commenting on Fonterra’s shipments of milk products infected with botulism.
The manager of Sanford was reported as saying that although there had been no direct impact on the firm so far, he was concerned about the "public ridiculing" in the Chinese media of the "Pure New Zealand idea".
The late Owen McShane saw this coming back in 2001. He posted this in a chat room at the time: “The fault lies with our tourism board for promoting our country as 100% pure, because purity in this context defies definition and leaves us open to this sort of response. Purity is a dangerous concept in political or commercial life. Gold is not sold as pure but 99.99% pure. Of course we are not 100% pure because nothing is. And compared to what? Even if we locked up all our streams from cattle and sheep does this mean we have restored "nature" and hence 100% pure - not unless someone can persuade me that no Moa ever crapped in a stream. And birds don't process their shit as well as mammals. I am suggesting that Federated Farmers take the Tourism Board to the Advertising Standards Authority for false advertising and raising expectations to impossible levels. Repeat, purity is a dangerous concept. Ask the German Jews or the survivors of the Taliban.”
The usual suspects said, then and now, that the claim is just innocent puffery. Tourism New Zealand spokeswoman Deborah Gray said last year that some people were confusing the campaign with an environmental issue. "The 100 per cent Pure New Zealand campaign is a marketing campaign not an environmental promise," she said. Fools.