Glass half full as Cadbury campaign tops $3.2 million
The man behind a drive to save Kiwi-made Cadbury products reckons he might have a Pineapple Lump or two if he can save the iconic sweets.
More than $3.2 million had been pledged to the campaign by Friday morning, with pledges "going up between $80,000 and $100,000 an hour", said Jim O'Malley, the man behind Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings (DMH).
The volunteer group wants to raise $20m to keep production of some of Cadbury's famous Kiwi brands – including Jaffas, Pineapple Lumps, Buzz Bars and Pinky Bars – in the country.
It has lodged an expression of interest with Mondelez International, the company behind the brand, for third-party production of its New Zealand products. This comes after Mondelez announced earlier this year that it would stop manufacturing Cadbury products in Dunedin in March 2018, with the loss of 350 jobs.
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Since DMH's plan was launched on Wednesday morning, $1.2m was raised in the first 24 hours, and $1.8m over following 24 hours.
O'Malley, a former pharmaceutical executive and current Dunedin City councillor, aimed to raise at least $5m from small investors, but had less than a fortnight to do so.
"I've already started to talk to people [about] how we take it to the next stage."
The total cost of buying the equipment, the factory at 336 Castle St and moving the equipment into the building was estimated to be $20m.
He originally thought the pledges would be from Dunedin, but they were from all over the country "proportional to the population".
"It is not just the product, they love the concept. A New Zealand-owned entity making a New Zealand iconic product."
O'Malley was volunteering his own time and expected the role to be a demanding one over the next month.
"In 12 months I hope to go to a party and someone says 'thank you' and then I can walk away."
The self-confessed Pineapple Lump lover conceded he might just be entitled to taste the first product, if the move was successful.
"Or maybe a lifetime supply."
O'Malley was confident pledges were bona fide and was also being approached by people who had no internet, but wanted to invest.
That included an elderly Dunedin resident who approached another councillor, Conrad Stedman.
Stedman said the man had no computer access, but was a "person of means" who wanted to support the plan.
People could make pledge on OwnTheFactory.co.nz until June 21.
Mondelez confirmed it had received an expression of interest from DMH, but was not in a position to comment.
Its deadline for expressions of interest for a new or current confectionary company to produce some of the Dunedin-made products closed on June 2.