John Oliver‘s choice to win New Zealand’s ‘Bird of the Century’ has been called out for not even being a Kiwi (see what we did there?).
It’s a Pūteketeke, AKA Australiasian vested grebe, and it turns out they are not even special to New Zealand. You may have been able to tell by their name, but they’re half-Australian and, according to NZ Birds, can even be found in Europe, Central Asia and Africa.
Oliver erected billboards for the bird worldwide, including in Mumbai, London and Tokyo, attempting to garner millions and millions of votes for it.
On a recent episode of 'The Project', hosts thought it was blasphemous that Oliver would use his immense American audience to influence our little country’s election, all in the name of a part-Australian bird.
“Not content with crapping on Aotearoa’s ‘Bird of the Century’ competition from his ivory perch,” Jeremey Corbett said.,“[Oliver] last night incited a global campaign of election interference.”
“Using foreign media money, John Oliver is trying to get a joke bird elected as our bird of the century.”
Forest & Bird run the annual competition, and their CEO Nicola Toki shared the already significant magnitude of Oliver’s influence.
“Since the show aired (Monday night), I think we’ve had an additional 50,000 votes,” she said. “Just to put that in perspective, last year the total votes for ‘Bird of the Year’ was just under 52,000.”
Corbett then urged floating voters to take a stand now, as “our democracy is under threat,” advising that “we Kiwis need to vote Kiwi.”
To clarify, he’s not necessarily saying that we need to vote for the Kiwi bird. Rather, just a bird that is only found in NZ. According to a 2017 government report, there are 168 species of native birds and 93 of those are only found here.
Voting for New Zealand’s Bird of the Century closes on November 12, so you have under a week to make your pick. We will see the full effect of Oliver’s campaign and 'The Project''s pushback on November 13, when the winning bird is announced.