Mayor sorry for slogan, blames media

Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin has apologised for the controversial "it's all white here" cricket promotion, while lashing out at media coverage of the story.

The Otago Cricket Association marketing campaign, unveiled last week, aimed to promote next month's Black Caps-West Indies cricket test at Dunedin's University Oval.

However, association chief executive Ross Dykes was forced to apologise days later, after the wording of the slogan was criticised by the West Indies Players Association and Dunedin-based former Pakistani international cricketer and commentator Billy Ibadulla.

Mr Chin took the unusual step of making a statement on the promotion, and subsequent media storm, during yesterday's Dunedin City Council infrastructure services committee, expressing regret for any offence caused.

However, those involved had "completely underestimated the media's power to misinterpret our message by branding it 'racist'," he said.

In particular, TV3's use of a Ku Klux Klan image while introducing a news item on the story was "inflammatory", and a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority was being considered by Otago Cricket, he said.

"They have taken a meaning out of it which certainly we did not intend at all, they have highlighted it and they have highlighted it in a hugely offensive way which I think everyone takes offence at," he said.

A TV3 spokesman declined to comment when contacted yesterday afternoon.

The slogan was an Otago Cricket promotion conceived with input from the DCC, University of Otago, Tourism Dunedin and Dunedin-based media outlets, and aimed to mirror the successful "black-out" rugby promotion preceeding July's All Blacks-Springboks rugby test in Dunedin.

"With the benefit of hindsight, it was naive," Mr Chin said yesterday.





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