Mayor Donna Favel said, that although the issue was still
before the courts, Council did not want to risk Start With a Smile being
associated in any way with violence against women. "We were not aware of
the accused's name until it was released yesterday," she said.
Start with a Smile has been hugely successful in the Ashburton
District, with large numbers of people using the smile couch at community
events and following the campaign on social media. "It has the potential
to be incredibly powerful in encouraging our community to be more welcoming and
friendly to newcomers," Ms Favel said.