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Why Compromise Over Monteith's?

ACT ‘s Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks called today for West Coasters not to compromise over DB’s plans to close its West Coast Brewery.

“The big brewers have tried to head off local speciality competition by resuscitating brands and identities buried long ago by their bland nation-wide coverage . Monteith's has been sold throughout New Zealand on tales of connections with early brewers. DB now thinks it can pour Monteith's out of its factories in Auckland while still trading on West Coast origins. If that is the case then all New Zealanders should boycott the ersatz products.

"These “recovered memory syndrome” marketing ploys could even be misleading and deceptive, contrary to section 9 of the Fair Trading Act. Whether or not DB’s plans pass that legal boundary, the act of pretending to be local while centralising everything in Auckland goes well past ethical boundaries.

“West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor is promoting a compromise. Shared production of Monteith's between Auckland and the Coast would mean none of it can be trusted as authentically West Coast. DB as the brand owner can choose to gut its brand value like that. But West Coasters should not co-operate in the degradation of a West Coast asset. Mr O’Connor will have simply been a dupe in a phased close-down of West Coast production.

“It is time we said enough to this cynical exploitation of local traditions and heritage associations. The French vigorously defend the brand value of their regional heritage associations with food and wine. Damien O’Connor’s limp acceptance that Monteith's can come from Auckland as well as the West Coast shows no understanding of the importance of integrity in branding.

“When New Zealanders generally realise that Monteith's is coming from Auckland the unique associations with the West Coast will dry up. He and the Coast should be insisting upon expansion of the brewery on the West Coast, if the West Coast heritage is to continue to be exploited by this foreign-owned beer company,” Mr Franks said.


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