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Bias in the LTP: “Enough is enough”

 |  Maggie Johnson  | 

I welcome your recent ‘Speaking Up on the LTP’ content, though not always the bias existing among many contributors. In his plea for fair play from TCDC (Inf. 9/4) Murray Ward made some salient points re the spending of our rates dollars in the current LTP, where projects will soon be ’fixed’ (pun intended!) for another 10 years. The points addressing general inequalities (i.e. continued steep rate rises vis-a-vis limited perceived benefit to locals; the notable bias towards industrial & commercial ratepayers, who crucially can deduct rates for tax purposes, unlike the rest of us!) are excellent, as is pointing out a bias towards Thames – but he failed to mention developers, or their relative ‘contributions’, nor how the ‘economic rate’ may be dropped altogether this time.

This noting of evident slants isn’t overly cynical yet I feel the historic nature of problems is often NOT stressed enough. Mr Rassmussen’s piece on ‘rotting fish’ (16/4) begs that question. I object particularly how his Conclusion continues the blame-game-trend against the currently elected team, especially Len Salt as ‘the fish head’ we presume! As your Through the Portal scribe admitted the same week re Council issues, and I for once agree, “the problems have been here for some time”.

TCDC’s rating system has supported developers, commercial & related interests at the expense of our average residential ratepayers for easily 20 years. The long – standing infrastructure issues recently mooted have been essentially ignored by all prior Councils under Mayors Sandra Goudie, Glen Leach and Philippa Barriball, in an expensive push for ‘economic development’ when two terms meant the consolidation of biased policy decisions. Moreover, pet projects like the Whitianga Esplanade Devt, the Wharf, (or the tsunami sirens fiasco), all hark back to prior Plans. I know first – hand the huge costs of a manipulated and unmonitored rating system based on SUIPs (dwelling units) instead of on property value or the ‘real usage’ of services, but suffice to say for now, where the knock-on recession-effect of Covid and the 2023 weather-storms are also mostly inherited, we must look much deeper than the current team to find a true long-term solution to ‘inequitable governance’ here.

I welcome your recent ‘Speaking Up on the LTP’ content, though not always the bias existing among many contributors. In his plea for fair play from TCDC (Inf. 9/4) Murray Ward made some salient points re the spending of our rates dollars in the current LTP, where projects will soon be ’fixed’ (pun intended!) for another 10 years. The points addressing general inequalities (i.e. continued steep rate rises vis-a-vis limited perceived benefit to locals; the notable bias towards industrial & commercial ratepayers, who crucially can deduct rates for tax purposes, unlike the rest of us!) are excellent, as is pointing out a bias towards Thames – but he failed to mention developers, or their relative ‘contributions’, nor how the ‘economic rate’ may be dropped altogether this time.

This noting of evident slants isn’t overly cynical yet I feel the historic nature of problems is often NOT stressed enough. Mr Rassmussen’s piece on ‘rotting fish’ (16/4) begs that question. I object particularly how his Conclusion continues the blame-game-trend against the currently elected team, especially Len Salt as ‘the fish head’ we presume! As your Through the Portal scribe admitted the same week re Council issues, and I for once agree, “the problems have been here for some time”.

TCDC’s rating system has supported developers, commercial & related interests at the expense of our average residential ratepayers for easily 20 years. The long – standing infrastructure issues recently mooted have been essentially ignored by all prior Councils under Mayors Sandra Goudie, Glen Leach and Philippa Barriball, in an expensive push for ‘economic development’ when two terms meant the consolidation of biased policy decisions. Moreover, pet projects like the Whitianga Esplanade Devt, the Wharf, (or the tsunami sirens fiasco), all hark back to prior Plans. I know first – hand the huge costs of a manipulated and unmonitored rating system based on SUIPs (dwelling units) instead of on property value or the ‘real usage’ of services, but suffice to say for now, where the knock-on recession-effect of Covid and the 2023 weather-storms are also mostly inherited, we must look much deeper than the current team to find a true long-term solution to ‘inequitable governance’ here.


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