McDonald’s managing director recently announced that his company has purchased close to 4,700,000 kilograms of beef in New Zealand in the last 12 months, including the Angus beef for its popular new product line. That’s about one kilogram of burger for every man, woman and child in the country.

If we here in the Bay are carrying our weight, we’re consuming about 150,000 kilograms of McDonald’s beef. Impressive, but c’mon Hawke’s Bay… we can chew more fat than that!

After all, apparently some of that Angus beef is sourced right here in HB, and the local press has been reporting that the beef industry is on the ropes.

We need to back the Bay’s beef, and so we’re starting the BayBuzz Backing the Bay’s Beef Blitz … B6 for short.

We asked Venture Hawke’s Bay to estimate the economic development potential of the B6 initiative. They hired two Auckland business consultants and an American “fast food” expert to study the matter, and their $150k report, confirming BayBuzz’s gut instincts, concludes:

“If we open twice as many McDonald’s outlets in HB, we’ll eat twice as many burgers, generating twice the direct revenue … and even more in downstream revenue when we factor in store construction, potato and milk shake sales, meat processing jobs,  and medical treatment for heart disease, diabetes, etc. And of course if we open ten or twenty times as many outlets … well, you just follow the math. Burgers are a cash cow.”

The B6 initiative will unlock the economic potential of Hawke’s Bay … without resorting to dairying. We’re limited only by our own appetites … no fickle export markets to worry about.

Indeed, informed of the scheme, farmer and Regional Councillor Tim Gilbertson exclaimed: “I’m converting immediately from ginkgo biloba to Angus cows. I’m so excited about this I’ll be naming my firstborn, Angus … even if he’s a she. Much better than Ginkgo Gilbertson!” And VHB Board chair Neil Kirton added: “True, VHB didn’t invent this B6 idea, but give credit where it’s due … we sure studied the hell out of it.”

At the Hastings Council, news of B6 spurred staff and consultants into an all-night brainstorming session, as HPUDS was hastily revised to accommodate siting two additional McD’s in the Heretaunga Plains each year for the next 30 years. At this pace, Hawke’s Bay will easily meet McDonald’s global standard of having Golden Arches within ten minutes of any location in a given territory.

To ensure sustainability, most outlets will include on-premise cattle yards. This adds yet another benefit — steady customers will get to pick their own cow.

Mayor Lawrence Yule enthused: “I’m so proud of this team — finding sites for 60 new McDonald’s is a massive achievement. And each one is on a cycling trail. I rewarded their effort with drinks and dinner at Craggy Range. And yes, it’s on my Council credit card.”

But every great idea has its detractors. Burger King has filed a complaint with the Auditor-General, asserting that it, not McDonald’s, offered the biggest donation to the Regional Sports Park and, consequently, was entitled to the Bay’s burger franchise.

And another sour note. Community gadfly Simon Nixon claims that neither VHB nor HDC conducted a demand analysis of HB beef consumption. “Sure, they found 60 locations, but that’s twenty times more outlets than we now have … I ask you, will the people of Hawke’s Bay down twenty times more burgers year after year? I say that’s a load of bull.”

Where’s the beef? Sounds like a campaign issue to me.

Tom Belford

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4 Comments

  1. Ha Ha…good to see a bit of humour reappearing there, Tom.

    The hills are alive with the sound of vegans and you know how serious they can be.. so be careful that you don't end up with a steak in your future?!

  2. One of the biggest factors to consider before increasing burger production, is how to handle the extra green house gases produced by growing burger patties.

    With the Emissions Trading Scheme now in full swing, would it be financially viable for our primary pattie producers to increase production and would these associated costs be passed onto the consumer?

    Rumour has it McDs, Paton Engineering , Hort research and beef growers have been working to neutralise these effects.

    Patons have developed a strap on wind turbine for the back end of each stock unit. Studies show this has the potential to produce the same amount of electricity as the power station at Whirinaki. While Hort research have developed a new strain of golden zespri that grow in the shape of double arches, although I hear they taste like the matter the above consultants were paid to study. With genetic modification these have the potential to grow to the size where they will replace the plastic arches outside McDs. Growing these alongside beef to scrub the nasty out of the atmosphere.

    This last development has merit. It should enable granny to stay warm in front of her roaring open fire on a frosty night, gumming her angus burger unconcerned with how much carbon she is pumping into the atomsphere from cheap wood supplied by cowboy wood merchants.

    Thanks McDs ya saving the plant.

    Thats my beef.

  3. We just can't wait for the Tukituki Valley one to open, we will be able to have a Grand Angus twice a week, popping in from the beach, we hear there could be a beach volleyball court too for a tinnie and a chat too??

    Bring it on.

    Cheers.

    Wills.

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