TVNZ has indicated it's prepared to revisit Wanganui in the wake of the Sunday "Zombie Town" programme which has sparked an outcry in the city.

The programme - described as "bloody awful" and "disgustingly skewed" - screened on Sunday night on TV One.

It focused on Wanganui as a "Zombie Town", a label given it and other provincial centres by Shamubeel Eaqub, principal economist at the NZ Institute of Economic Research.

Yesterday Whanganui MP Chester Borrows contacted a producer at TVNZ's current affairs and got a concession from the network.


Mr Borrows said a return programme would not be looking at everything the city had to offer but would concentrate on the economic drivers in the city and the employment opportunities they provided.

"The producer did say, though, that it would be up to us to come back with suggestions," he said.

That would include getting Mr Eaqub back to show him the industries that were "doing the business" here.

It was Mr Eaqub's book Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in New Zealand which prompted the Sunday programme. The book details the decline of regional economies, such as Wanganui's, and suggests such places could be shut down to benefit the bigger cities.

Wanganui mayor Annette Main and Mr Borrows led a chorus of criticism that followed Sunday's screening. Ms Main said the programme was "bloody awful, frankly" while Mr Borrows called it a "disgustingly skewed piece of broadcasting" and said the city deserved a right of reply.

He was happy to get TVNZ to consider revisiting Wanganui to bring some balance to the issue.

"It would be a programme that showcased what is happening in our economy and what employment opportunities they were providing. It will definitely be an opportunity for us to strut our stuff," he said.

"They would want the programme to show Mr Eaqub's responses to our businesses and productivity."

Mr Borrows said he was pleased with the positive reaction he had got from the broadcaster.

"This is about an opportunity to get on a national stage to show what we're doing here."

He will be contacting Ms Main to discuss the TVNZ offer.

On Monday the Chronicle was flooded with calls, emails and messages from people outraged at the programme and all agreed with Ms Main's assessment that manipulated shots and images showed the city as a backwater.

"I'd been told the programme would be fair and balanced, but none of the positive comments I know they received were captured by Sunday at all," she said.

Mr Borrows said he had misgivings about a planned march called "Yeah Hard Whanganui Zombie March" which was planned to take place at Trafalgar Square at noon on Saturday.

Organiser Julie Herewini said people were welcome to come dressed as zombies as the march was an opportunity to get "our town together and have a bit of fun".

But Mr Borrows said he didn't think a march would "say anything positive about Wanganui at all".

"It's certainly not the sort of response I'd want to be associated with," he said.