Crys­tal ball

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Coun­cil wants to in­crease the pop­u­la­tion from 52,000 to 61,000 by 2030. Quite why, when one of the most fre­quently used jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for past rates in­creases in ex­cess of in­fla­tion, has been pop­u­la­tion growth, and the need to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture to keep pace. The mar­ket­ing strat­egy has no as­sess­ment of our in­fra­struc­ture ca­pac­ity. If our waste water, storm water, water and roads in­fra­struc­ture, were in great con­di­tion, with the ca­pac­ity to han­dle more res­i­dents, growth might be good. The ac­tual sit­u­a­tion is quite the re­verse, with for ex­am­ple sub­urbs still with non-ex­is­tent storm water af­ter more than 40 years. In­ad­e­quate water stor­age in Els­don, the CBD, parts of Whitby, As­cot Park and Cam­borne/mana. Waste water is op­er­at­ing at ca­pac­ity as a re­sult of in­suf­fi­cient in­vest­ment in the north­ern sub­urbs. And some roads will wait nearly 50 years to next be re-sur­faced (un­less fill­ing pot­holes is now de­fined as resur­fac­ing). Our city pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing at less than our nat­u­ral birth rate. In other words, while we are grow­ing, we could be grow­ing more quickly if we re­tained a higher per­cent­age of ex­ist­ing Porirua res­i­dents. Does the mar­ket­ing strat­egy re­search those that leave and why?

Could two of the ma­jor threats iden­ti­fied in the mar­ket­ing strat­egy be fac­tors – high res­i­den­tial and busi­ness rates? Busi­nesses fo­cus firstly on retaining ex­ist­ing cus­tomers, and se­condly, at­tract­ing new ones. If 45 per cent of ex­ist­ing res­i­dents have neg­a­tive views about the city, doesn’t that sug­gest 45 per cent of new res­i­dents will in time also share sim­i­lar views?

So nat­u­rally, coun­cil will spend our money on those fac­tors that most in­flu­ence pos­i­tive feel­ings about a city. PCC asked UMR Re­search to iden­tify those. The top six driv­ers for res­i­dents were safe, at­trac­tive, good ac­cess to health care, re­laxed out­door life­style, good place to raise a fam­ily, and homes good value for money.

The five least im­por­tant were good cafes and restau­rants, vi­brant and ex­cit­ing city cen­tre, easy ac­cess to beaches and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion and strong arts com­mu­nity.

So re­mind me why we are spend­ing more than $44m on re­vi­tal­is­ing the city cen­tre? More than dou­ble what we are spend­ing on our worn out, or non-ex­is­tent, or un­der-ca­pac­ity in­fra­struc­ture.

The mar­ket­ing plan iden­ti­fies three types of res­i­dents coun­cil wants to at­tract. Young go-get­ters (un­der 30, sin­gle, rent­ing – look­ing to buy), par­ents (un­der 44, mar­ried/de facto, with chil­dren, own home or look­ing to buy), and empty nesters (45-plus, re­tired/ look­ing to re­tire, own home, mar­ried).

Are you in the tar­get mar­ket coun­cil wants to at­tract? Or are you not, like solo par­ents, wid­ows/ wid­ow­ers, sin­gle peo­ple over 44, those look­ing to work be­yond 65, etc? Scrap the mar­ket­ing strat­egy, save $500,000 a year, and let the peo­ple who want to live, work and in­vest in Porirua, choose to do so with­out fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from ratepay­ers.

AN­DREW WELLUM, Cam­borne. Ed­i­tor,

Who is the mod­ern-day Nostradamus work­ing for the Porirua City Coun­cil who can de­ter­mine with of­fi­cial ac­cu­racy in the long term plan 2012-2022 that $50,017,000 will be re­ceived in rates when year 2022 comes around? Like­wise, $34,922,000 will be called ‘‘in­come’’ when the reval­u­a­tion of prop­erty, plant and equip­ment will be as­sessed in the same year.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive said these de­tails were de­rived from a com­puter based pro­gram. The to­tal rates in­come set out in the 2009-2019 long term plan for the same re­spec­tive years to­talled $651,702 but now the fig­ure is $555,099. Where did the com­puter go wrong?

How can our coun­cil­lors and the man­age­ment sub­scribe to the non­sense on page 197 out of the re­main­ing 311 pages of ob­fus­ca­tion? These fore­cast musings turn the 10-year plan into a farce of the first or­der as none of the de­tails from ex­pe­ri­ence will last out 12 months.

Lit­tle won­der the coun­cil didn’t want open ques­tions from par­tic­i­pants at the three re­cent ward meet­ings and only about an hour at the af­ter-thought spe­cial LTP meet­ing on April 24 to ac­com­mo­date mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who pre­fer a ques­tion & an­swer for­mat to share their thoughts, as the chief ex­ec­u­tive now states.

JOHN WAT­SON, Ti­tahi Bay. let­ters you re­fer to in your ed­i­to­rial in last week’s Kapi-mana News. Be­ing politi­cians and real es­tate agents they are likely to be dou­bly eth­i­cally chal­lenged, so they would view merely ab­sent­ing them­selves from the vote on real es­tate pur­chases in­volv­ing their cur­rent or pre­vi­ous real es­tate em­ploy­ers to be enough.

I hope they will prove me wrong by in fu­ture pro­vid­ing this busi­ness to other agen­cies as well.

I must ad­mit that I was brac­ing my­self for fu­ture covert fire sales of sur­plus coun­cil lands. I trust any fu­ture sale of coun­cil land will be open, trans­par­ent and not favour cer­tain agen­cies.

It is pleas­ing that ap­par­ently there is now also some ref­er­ence to real es­tate mat­ters in that im­pen­e­tra­ble ob­ject the an­nual plan and to find in the news that Porirua coun­cil has such low debt. How­ever, there is not enough recog­ni­tion that par­tic­u­larly in times of re­ces­sion and with grow­ing ag­ing pop­u­la­tion that the rates are far too high and no will­ing­ness to ac­cept that the coun­cil ob­vi­ously has the means to do some­thing more about this.

CA­ROLE NAY­LOR, Pa­pakowhai. The ma­jor­ity of let­ters to the ed­i­tor I re­ceived on the Steyne Ave prop­erty pur­chase were pub­lished – Ed­i­tor.

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