In the week Kiwi Chris Liddell won a top role in Donald Tump's office, Charlotte Carter meets a dairy farmer backing one of the most polarising American presidents of all time.

Among the rolling green hills of middle New Zealand, some 12,000km away from Donald Trump's Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House, Bill Burr flies the American flag high.

It's not without hassles, he's had to scrub vandalism from his "Go the Donald" sign on more than one occasion.

When I first phoned the 63-year-old at his farm in Piopio - a town halfway between Hamilton and New Plymouth with a population of 396 - to request an interview, his response was abrasive.

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Bill Burr said the signs are frequently tooted at by drivers. Photo / Supplied
Bill Burr said the signs are frequently tooted at by drivers. Photo / Supplied

"Well I've been reluctant to talk to the Herald, you know, they're always publishing fake news," Burr says, in reference to a line Trump often rolls out in reference to all media.

But he agrees to meet me, initially at a coffee shop in Hamilton, before letting me come to his farm in Piopio.

Burr has brought with him a wad of notes on yellow paper for the interview.

He seems almost more prepared than me.

Burr tells me he didn't think Trump was getting a fair go in the media, so he put up signs on his dairy farm alongside State Highway 3, in full view of passing cars to show his support.

Bill Burr with his grandson, Beau, and Rocky the dog at the infamous sign on SH3. Photo / Charlotte Carter
Bill Burr with his grandson, Beau, and Rocky the dog at the infamous sign on SH3. Photo / Charlotte Carter

He lives there with his wife Pauline. His two adult sons live nearby and work for him on the farm.

Not everyone agrees with the grandfather of four's views on Trump, but there are many who do in rural country.

"It's an honest democracy, he was voted in fair and square and people have to get behind him," Burr says. "It's what my father's generation and his mates fought for and we have to respect it."

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Burr says he was brought up to be grateful for what the Americans did in the war.

"You've got to have a strong America economically, in terms of military, security and strong borders - a prosperous American middle class means a prosperous world."

He laughs as he describes the looks on the faces of the "left wing" press after Trump got in.

"They looked like they'd been at a funeral or something," he says.

He dismisses any allegations of sexual harassment against Trump as "locker room chat".

"People don't want to know about that scandal-mongering in the media, it's just silly."

Burr thinks Trump's immigration stance is exactly what American needs. Burr is not against immigration but believes it has to be controlled.

"It's the lower wage bracket that suffers in the end. I have consultants who tell me I'm paying my workers too much, saying I could get lower priced workers - you know Filipinos and all that."

But Burr employs only locals on his farm and is firm that a worker must be paid a living wage.

He says that some of his friends refer to him as Bill Trump and jokes the two men have more in common than I would have thought.

Trump uses the line "drain the swamp" to describe his plans to take on the lobbyists in the federal government who, he claims, have hurt American's working class.

Meeting of minds: Charlotte Carter with Burr.
Meeting of minds: Charlotte Carter with Burr.

Burr literally drained a swamp of his own back in 2008. He and his wife Pauline were convicted and fined $73,000 for draining a wetland on their property that was home to a threatened native mudfish, in order to make way for more pasture.

A news story from 2012 said the judge described their offending as "energetic".

Burr grins at the ironic parallel.

"That's it, we didn't drain the wetland though, all we did was clean it up," he says.

The Trump sign is in a state of disrepair - a jagged piece of blue cardboard has been stuck on the bottom over the words: "F**k you".

As well as the flag and Trump signs at the bottom of Burr's driveway, a health and safety sign as you pull up to his farmhouse reads: "If you have no common sense, are accident prone, stupid, dopey, tired, stressed, depressed, drug, alcohol or visually impaired, a public nuisance, a delinquent, a malingerer, an unsupervised minor, have a contagious disease, or are a left wing tosser - DO NOT ENTER."

It reveals greyish smudges where graffiti has been scrubbed over.

Several Piopio residents say his flags have been burned and the signs frequently defaced.

Burr is vague about the number of the times the signs have been vandalised, but estimates "two or three".

The sign has been through a lot since it was erected. Photo / Alan Gibson
The sign has been through a lot since it was erected. Photo / Alan Gibson

Piopio police officer Tony Schrafft says Burr has reported vandalism to him a couple of times.

"He doesn't like people going on to his property which is fair enough, but he does realise that it is controversial and that's one of the reasons he put it there - because he loves that sort of stuff," Schrafft said.

Other townspeople say the sign is often a topic of conversation among tourists who pass through.

Clive Fredrick, Justice of the Peace and president of the Cosmopolitan Club, says Burr firmly believes Trump is the type of man we need in New Zealand and he will tell anyone who listens.

Burr says one of the best things Trump has done is withdraw the US from the Paris Accord.

"He kicked that stupid Paris climate change to touch. Who's gonna pay for it? It all filters down to the lower economic group, charging for some mumbo jumbo theory," Burr says.

Burr is not alone in the region with his anti-climate change stance and Trump support.

Some 84km down State Highway 3 near Mokau, Tamihana cattle breeder Robin Thomson has erected a sign of his own near the road.

The sign reads: "The sun is the main driver of climate change, not you, not C02."

Burr's sign isn't the only controversial billboard down State Highway 3. Photo / Matthew Russell
Burr's sign isn't the only controversial billboard down State Highway 3. Photo / Matthew Russell

Thomson tells me is also a big fan of President Trump.

Te Awamutu Christian Centre pastor Bruce Judd also supports Trump. He says he appeals to regional New Zealand as he gets things done.

"We're farmers out here and if things need doing, we just do them - that's what strikes a chord with us, because Trump is an action man," Judd says.

Burr and Judd agree Trump has used Twitter cleverly throughout his campaign and presidency.

"I think he plays with the media with his little Twitter games, and they're so thick they can't see past it, they get all carried away with that and spend hours on nothing while he's achieving things," Judd says.

Burr says it was a great form of advertising during the election.

"The Twitter, well that's Trump, we've all got flaws," he says.

"But what he did - he got about $50 billion worth of free advertising, he was up against the Clinton machine, even our Government gave money to the Clinton foundation - it was just a have."

"It gets headlines and It worked for him."

Burr insists that Trump will go on to win the mid-terms.

Trump's Kiwi deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell. Photo / Doug Sherring
Trump's Kiwi deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell. Photo / Doug Sherring

"It's going to be a landslide, do you know why? It's the economy, he's got the economy.

"America is experiencing the biggest job growth, wages have gone up 3.2 per cent for the first time in 18 years and the sharemarket is booming."

Last week Kiwi Chris Liddell was announced as Trump's new deputy chief of staff. He shares at least a flavour of Burr's rural life, having been born in Matamata.

He takes up his riole at a tympically turbulent time in the presidency. There's a sex scandal with a porn star, the investigation into collusion with Russia and the revelations of Cambridge Analytica's involvement in his election.

Little wonder, then, that I'm still waiting for a response from Trump's office to my request for comment about the diehard supporter in middle New Zealand.

Burr clearly enjoys his status as a Trumpeteer, and happily mirrors his hero's abrasive relationship with the press.

At a café in Te Kuiti where we met for our second interview, Burr yells over at a pair of motorcyclists and asks if they are "Trump people" before introducing ourselves to the two men.

"This is Charlotte, she's from the corrupt press, she's from the Herald, that gutter tabloid."