City Cen­tre re­al­ity

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Edi­tor,

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)

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