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Mayor Disagrees With 20/20 Portrayal of ChCh

28 February 2006

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore has lashed out at the 60 Minutes television programme that screened last night, saying he is outraged at its portrayal of the city.

The programme labelled Christchurch as "a city of drugs, crime and prostitution" with a "sleazy underbelly", where "violence simmers just below the surface".

Mr Moore said he did not deny Christchurch had a problem with underage prostitution but so did every other big city in New Zealand. "It is a problem that we have identified and are working to address through the Safer Christchurch Interagency Group. Work in this area has already produced some good results in getting these young women off the streets.

"Last night's programme, filmed over five days, found no under-aged prostitutes.

"The programme only serves to heighten the issue and attract more young women to the streets with its outrageous claims in earnings."

Mr Moore said it was time for the media to take responsibility and put the issue in to perspective. "The 60 Minutes programme offered nothing new. It didn't produce any girls who were underage and I'm fed-up with this smear campaign against Christchurch.

"The impact of this on the city is significant. It could have been filmed in any other New Zealand city.

"Underage prostitution is a social issue that all New Zealand needs to take responsibility for. It is a breakdown in our society that has brought about this industry, and it is only survives because of the 'middle-aged men who prey on young prostitutes'."

ENDS


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