Concerns of dairy farmers about the way their industry was portrayed in TVNZ's Sunday programme “The Price of Milk” have been made known to its producers and the TVNZ executive by the show's sponsor Mazda NZ.
Some farmers were so concerned they called for a boycott of Mazda and its removal from the Fonterra Farm Source Rewards Scheme and Duncan Coull, chairman of chairman of the FonterraShareholders' Council says Fonterra took those concerns to Mazda.
Mazda responded with the following statement: “The views expressed in this story are those of the Sunday programme, and not of Mazda.
“Mazda has always been a strong supporter of the rural sector. We appreciate the vital role the dairying community plays in the New Zealand economy and we're proud of the contribution we make to this industry through our relationship with the Fonterra Co-operative Group. That is why we have taken all the feedback and comments about this Sunday Special very seriously and forwarded them to the producers of Sunday and for their awareness.” Duncan says he didn't watch the full programme. “But comments from farmers that I have spoken with show they were upset that the programme in no way portrayed what dairying was to them with what seemed to be a deliberate effort to portray the extremes to expose dairy in bad light,” Duncan told SunLive.
“I have only had one call from a farmer asking for such a boycott. I'm sure Mazda has no input into programme content as sponsor of the programme.
“That said it has hardened farmers resolve to tell their own personal story promoting all the good things they are doing as guardians of the land and contributing to the wellbeing of their local communities.”
In the programme TVNZ current affairs journalist Cameron Bennett spent time with two dairy farmers; Jasmine Purnell who operates a low intensive farm, with a focus on soil health and mixed pasture, producing raw milk for export, and Gavin Flint of Ngatea who uses more conventional farming management.
The programme can be viewed at: www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/sunday-special-price-milk-our-love-affair-dairy-farming-over