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Shortland St gay remarks outrage Tauranga locals

Friday 30 Apr 2010 6:11 p.m.

By Jono Hutchison

A tourism group in Tauranga is outraged about a scene on Shortland Street which implied the city is not gay-friendly.

The comments were made in episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday, but today has brought the backlash.

But 3 News spoke to a lesbian who says it is tough being gay in the Bay of Plenty.

The dialogue on Shortland Street between bi-sexual character Nicole and her girlfriend Maia has riled local tourism boss Tim Burgess.

“It was a bit of a cheap and lazy shot by the writers of Shortland Street. They haven't even bothered to really look at the facts. It is the fastest growing city in New Zealand outside of Auckland.”

Some locals say it’s just Aucklanders “having a go” at Tauranga and most 3 News spoke to disagreed with the remarks.

“Oh I thought it was quite rude to be honest,” said one Tauranga resident, while another said the city was one of the most “gay-friendly places in New Zealand”.

But Shortland Street’s producers say Nicole’s comments have “more to do with her own personal issues about her sexuality than any truth that Tauranga is homophobic”.

But Mr Burgess argues it will still hurt Tauranga’s image.

3 News

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