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Rotorua Mayor supports mud festival decision

Rotorua Mayor supports mud festival decision

7 August 2017

STATEMENT from Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick:

Despite best efforts to reassure the public about the safety of Korean cosmetic mud powder that was to be used as part of the Rotorua Mudtopia Festival, the public perception is that a risk remains.

In light of that I asked that the event organisers consider removing the imported mud from the equation. I’m pleased that decision has now been made so that we can move on and focus on organising a great event.

The cosmetic mud product was to have been used to promote South Korea’s Boryeong mud festival which, in exchange, is providing intellectual property and advice and promoted Rotorua’s event at its recent 2017 festival.

The event team worked very closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure there would be no biosecurity risk and while myself and others trust in that process, I acknowledge that hasn’t reduced the public’s anxiety.

Council remains committed to the festival. There is a bigger picture involved in the economic benefits and opportunities major events like this can bring, and they cannot happen without council and other support to get them off the ground so they can eventually become self-sustaining. Sometimes that means council owning them, at least initially.

At a council committee meeting last week elected members were informed that while the value proposition for the event still holds, recent negative publicity could impact the bottom line this year.

A motion put to continue the festival without the imported mud was unsuccessful but in light of the ongoing public concern since then, it was appropriate for the matter to be reconsidered by the festival team.

The impact of today’s decision on our agreement and relationship with the Boryeong festival is something that will now be worked through.
[ENDS]

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