Residents upset over portrayal of Mataura

Alliance Group Butcher Shop manager Chris Duffy with a tray of pork chops, which are popular with...
Alliance Group Butcher Shop manager Chris Duffy with a tray of pork chops, which are popular with customers from throughout Otago and Southland. Mr Duffy is one of several business people unhappy with Campbell Live’s portrayal of Mataura earlier this week.
Some Mataura business owners and residents are upset by the portrayal of the town on TV3's Campbell Live on Tuesday night.
The programme investigated reasons why so many commercial buildings in the town were empty and the role landowner and retired American dentist Dr Jack Phillips had in the town's development.

Neil Rogan Panelbeating owner Neil Rogan was disappointed neither the new $1.35 million community centre nor any of the thriving businesses in the town featured in the TV footage.

‘‘We drive through the town every day and live in it, and to see it on TV it looked bloody awful - it did look like a ghost town,'' Mr Rogan said.

He described the programme as ‘‘biased'' as it only showed buildings in a run-down state and the reporter did not talk to any other business people other than Dr Phillips.

‘‘I thought it was poor; it was so one-sided. The town is abuzz with the new community centre and the gala day on this weekend,'' Mr Rogan said.

‘‘It's a bit of a shame the only time we are on TV and it's for negative reasons,'' he said.

Alliance Group Butcher Shop manager Chris Duffy was critical of the programme, saying it ‘‘made Mataura look like a real dump''.

The butcher's shop was a thriving business that attracted custom from Mataura residents and from centres including Gore, Invercargill and Dunedin, Mr Duffy said. ‘‘We're flat out here.''

The business employed six fulltime staff, he said.

The community spirit in Mataura was alive and well, and there were myriad organisations people could belong to, he said.

Mataura was ‘‘not a dead duck yet'', Mr Duffy said.

McDonough Contracting Ltd owner Bruce McDonough said the programme did not portray Mataura's true potential. He pointed to the Alliance Group Butcher Shop as an example of a business making products that were renowned throughout a wide catchment.

Mataura resident Doreen Lee said the film crew could have filmed some of the older homes Dr Phillips had renovated and which were tenanted.

‘‘It really wasn't a balanced representation of Mataura,'' Mrs Lee said.

She hoped the programme did not prompt Dr Phillips to reevaluate his commitment in the town or sway the opinion of people considering buying a house in Mataura.

Campbell Live reporter Natasha Utting said the story was angled on Dr Phillips, his role in the town and his buildings.

There were shots of the new community centre and Baldwins Discount included in the footage, but that wasn't the focus of the programme, Ms Utting said.

‘‘It was a very specific story, it wasn't about them [the other businesses],'' Ms Utting said.

TV3 received a lot of feedback after the programme aired and Ms Utting said the majority supported the views aired by Mataura resident Meg Appleby.

Mrs Appleby said last week Dr Phillips had been involved with property in the town for a long time but there had not been a lot of progress made on the buildings.

Dr Phillips was out of the country and unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.


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