City Centre reality
Your feature on the mayoral candidates’ views on the city centre re-development is misleading [ KMN, September 14].
On November 16, the council announced a $30 million spend on the project.
The chief executive said the strategic policy unit would work on little else, secret workshops confirmed it was the councillors’ ‘‘top priority’’ (according to the chief executive) and more than $4.1 million was spent to buy the first property (4 Lydney Pl).
The race is on to keep up with the $100 million overhaul at Johnsonville. It was all a crock from the start because Wellington ratepayers are not actually paying $100 million for Johnsonville. All they pay for is a strategic plan and minor works – the rest is from developers yet to be found.
Anyway, why is it that your paper asks candidates about the Porirua project as if it is in the future? The question to ask is: how do you expect to stop this high-risk juggernaut which will guarantee our rates remain the highest in the nation and benefit a small group of businesspeople?
[Meanwhile] our council spends more than $70 million a year and 93 per cent of that money comes from rates. Hence, I was amazed by the puerile comments of mayoral candidates ( KMN, September 28].
One would expect them to have more precise views on what can be done to address the situation. Getting control of council’s budget must be top priority for everyone. The way that council makes its decisions leads to inevitable rates rises. Once the interests of the councillors come into the budget, it is always discovered that there are basics that require money. The focus is then on the basics and inevitably, spending increases.
The idea that we will find new income sources is naive: we have been looking for years and all we have come up with is a gifting and loan scheme.
The Aotea Lagoon dip machine was a plan to raise money, but that itself has dipped.
Until we have leadership at the council table sufficient to tackle the mechanisms by which council decides its priorities and the rates you pay, we are doomed to continue as a high-rates city.
– ROBERT SHAW, Porirua city councillor. (Two letters abridged)