Outrage as New Zealand Air Sells for $99 at Duty Free Shop

October 5, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

A company is taking heat for selling canned Pure Fresh New Zealand Air at a duty-free shop at the Auckland airport for nearly $100.

Journalist Damian Christie posted a photo of four-pack of cans on Twitter on Oct. 3, captioning it with a biting comment.

“You’ve got to be [expletive] me. Also, $98 so not exactly a cute prank gift,” Christie noted with incredulity.

Warning: Profanity in the following tweet

“Yeah, but to be fair you are saving 20 bucks with the combo pack,” commented @boxcar_joey on Twitter, alluding to the product label proclamation that the $98.99 price tag was a savings of $20 off the normal retail price.

Christie also posted the photo on Instagram.

“$100?!!!! I’ve got some air for sale …” commented Instagram user nitepix.

While sales staff for Aelia duty free initially denied the air was being sold there, airport staff checked the store and confirmed it was.

“We have hit peak capitalism,” joked @fixiebelle.

Several media outlets reported on the story, with Christie commenting “Quite surreal waking up in a hotel in Sydney to discover your Instagram post from the airport has hit the news back home. After the night I had last night I could actually do with some …”

One of the news outlets to cover the story was the New Zealand Herald, noting that the bottles are sold by a company called Kiwana.

According to the Kiwiana website, the company harvests the air “above the snow line” on New Zealand’s South Island, the Herald reported. “High in the Southern Alps of New Zealand above the snow line and hundreds of kilometres away from civilisation or any human activity is where the air in your can has come from,” the website reportedly reads.

“New Zealand’s unique position in the Southern Ocean means Kiwiana Air has crossed no major landmass before flowing over the pristine Southern Alps of New Zealand and into this can,” a message on the back of the product reads.

The Herald reported that efforts were made to reach Kiwiana, but they did not respond.

One of the company’s competitors, New Zealand Blue Sky Air, last November posted a video on Twitter how the air they offer to consumers is harvested.

“New Zealand is an isolated country surrounded by sea and so it is one of the cleanest and greenest countries on Earth. While New Zealand promotes itself as 100% pure, we are also now able to offer you 100% New Zealand Fresh Air. Our air is collected only on a day when the Sky is crisp and clean and most importantly Blue,” the company’s website notes.

“This is how we collect our New Zealand Blue Sky Air,” a man’s voice can be heard in the video, which features a noisy gas or diesel-powered generator, set against lush green grass, a pristine mountain vista, and clear blue sky.

“As you can see, the compressor is catching the air,” the man continues. “This is going into the storage tanks, and then it goes to our canning facility, and ends up just like that,” says the man, as he holds up a blue can with a clear plastic mouthpiece.

The company markets its products to polluted countries in Asia.

“Having visited China many times and seeing first hand the smog and pollution and seeing the look on the peoples faces when they know you are from New Zealand where there is clean fresh air, it was a natural idea to come up with a way that people in countries that suffer from pollution can also have some pure New Zealand fresh air in a can,” the company’s website states.

A video marketing plug is featured on the NZ Blue Sky Air Twitter account, showing a smartly dressed gentleman delivering an enthusiastic Chinese-language product endorsement.

One can of New Zealand Blue Sky Air costs $26 on the website.

A $168 eight-pack offers the best value, at a saving of $40.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM