Mayor slams media for city's poor image

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 10:45 26/02/2013

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Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett took a swipe at the media's negative portrayal of Porirua in a 'state of the city' address to the business community last week.

In a 15-minute speech at Porirua Club, Mr Leggett gave broad strokes on the key areas for the city in the next 12 months, including "improving the Porirua experience", ensuring outside investment, progressing the city centre upgrade and solid business and civic leadership.

But Porirua's "image problem" was something he and others were continually confronting.

"Porirua's true character as a young, vibrant and dynamic city - with the highest median income in the region - is routinely ignored by the media.

"Doing a story on malnourished kids? Send a camera to Porirua. Street gangs? Send another camera. As someone who has lived here all my life, I can honestly say I do not recognise Porirua by its portrayal on the news. Quite frankly, I am sick of our city serving as a convenient backdrop to every misery story on the dial."

EDITORIAL: Porirua's positives bypassed

He said media reports of council meetings and councillor behaviour were part of the "silly season" with local body elections looming, but insisted PCC was not a "hotbed of scandal".

Mr Leggett said the loss of Defence Force and New Zealand Post jobs were part of a mixed picture when it came to efforts to attract employment and investment to Porirua.

"We continue to believe that Porirua has a litany of attributes that should be seeing more public sector jobs come into the city, but the opposite is occurring. Mayoral whining is no substitute for strategy [and] we need to re-examine the factors that led to these decisions."

He said the prospect of a Mitre 10 Mega at the MegaCentre, Whittakers planned expansion and the Ericsson announcement for Todd Park gave cause for confidence, but the right council policies and "a dose of political courage" were needed to make the city attractive to businesses.

Mr Leggett said council hoped to keep rates rises to 2.5 per cent.

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