‘Me­dia ig­nore city vi­brancy’

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

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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