Cromwell strikes back over Facebook page

The town at the centre of a scrap with the satirical Facebook page "Sh*t Towns of New Zealand" has hit back at the page's creator with some jabs of its own.

Two months ago the page listed Cromwell as one of the "Top 5 Sh*****st Towns in New Zealand" - describing the Central Otago town as the "Mistake on the Lake" and the "Toilet Bowl of the South".

That sparked a furious reaction from some in the town as the creator of the Facebook page received almost 20 death threats.

"People have threatened to stab our eyes, throw us off a bridge that sort of thing," says the page's creator who asked to remain anonymous.

"It seems that people in the 'Mistake by the Lake' seem to have very thin skin.

"There's one Mexican restaurant owner there that wants to fight me in the main street."

But when Newstalk ZB reporter Matiu Workman spoke with the son of the man who'd made the threat, he found tempers had cooled since the post had first gone online.

"People get behind their keyboards and become a bit of a keyboard warrior," says Dylan Bradley.

"My old man doesn't like being taken the mickey out of that much [and having people] rip into his business.

"He's worked the last 20 years to build it ... I can't imagine anybody would enjoy being ripped into for their hard work."

On the streets of Cromwell there was also a mood of annoyance rather than anger.

"It's a sense of humour I think a lot of people will miss," says local resident Jennifer Gillan.

"It's kind of funny but it's also kind of insulting."

Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan was more relaxed about the town's newfound notoriety.

"I was a liker of the [Sh*t Towns of New Zealand] page before Cromwell ever came along and got hit by it - it's just great satire it's a great joke," Mr Cadogan said.

"I'm disappointed to hear people are becoming keyboard warriors and getting that threatening about it but apparently the guy lives in Afghanistan so he should be quite safe."

The creator of the page admits he's surprised by the success - and anger - his Facebook page has generated but vows not to stop until every town in the country has had the "Sh*t Towns of New Zealand" treatment.

"The joke is that all towns are a bit sh*t if you look hard enough," he says.

"We will get to everyone eventually."

Small-town New Zealand: be warned.

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