Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws rates as highly as the Whanganui river in a survey of outsiders' impressions of the city.
A debate over the spelling of the town's name also features. Although gangs come a distant third, not many people want to move there.
Some 766 non-Wanganui people were asked what they think about the city in a survey for the Wanganui District Council.
Despite the Mongrel Mob shooting of Jhia Te Tua, aged two, and a push to ban gang patches, gangs don't feature highly.
More than half those surveyed recall coverage about whether Wanganui should be spelled with an "h", eight times more than recall reporting about gangs.
A third nominated the profile of the Mr Laws, putting him level pegging with the Whanganui River, while 10% pointed to gangs.
Housing affordability was ranked highly, but a desire to live in Wanganui scored lowest.