What can we be­lieve?

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -


Cast your minds back to the KapiMana News edition of April 3; the mid­dle page spread telling us about the coun­cil’s Long Term Plan clearly stated the in­tent to spend $19 mil­lion on a city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion.

For those who at­tended the Pau­ata­hanui pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the plan, you might re­mem­ber that our mayor said then the plan was to spend $15m on the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion.

We now read on July 3 that the plan is to spend $23.8m but that would ap­pear to be mis­in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to the jour­nal­ist.

Page 94 of the draft plan clearly shows that the orig­i­nal in­ten­tion of [the] coun­cil was to spend $30.355m and pro­vide $257,000 for de­pre­ci­a­tion.

The fi­nal plan is to spend $30.089m and pro­vide $4.571m in de­pre­ci­a­tion.

Our coun­cil­lors have also said that they had de­cided to limit rates in­come in­creases in the Long Term Plan to the move­ment in the con­sumer price in­dex (2.4 per cent planned for years two and three) plus growth in the city’s rat­ing base.

How­ever, in his in­tro­duc­tion, the chief ex­ec­u­tive states that the av­er­age rates in­crease in years two and three (ex­clud­ing rat­ing base growth) will be 3 per cent and 2.9 per cent.

All other years have sim­i­lar dis­crep­an­cies – equat­ing to $17m in rates be­ing charged be­yond the coun­cil­lors’ self-im­posed limit.

I have asked the chief ex­ec­u­tive and all coun­cil­lors to ex­plain how this dis­crep­ancy can be ac­cepted but the only coun­cil­lor to try to un­der­stand was Coun­cil­lor Seiuli and he was told by the chief ex­ec­u­tive that he need not be con­cerned by it.

So, our coun­cil mis­leads us about the cost of the city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion, per­haps know­ing very few will take the time to read a 300-page doc­u­ment and our coun­cil­lors are con­tent to mis­rep­re­sent the im­pact on ratepay­ers.

What else can’t we be­lieve? How many of our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives think they have demon­strated the skills needed to war­rant re-elec­tion? If this bla­tant dis­re­gard for hard-earned ratepayer money is to cease it will take more than just me stand­ing against them next year.

BRIAN COLLINS, Pa­pakowhai PCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son re­sponds: Mr Collins has mis­read my in­tro­duc­tion in the LTP which clearly states that the fore­cast av­er­age rate in­creases of 3 per cent for year two and 2.9 per cent for year three of the plan is made up of CPI plus growth in the rat­ing base.

Mr Collins, in his state­ments about rates, loses sight of the process that [the] coun­cil has fol­lowed. [The] Coun­cil con­sulted with its ratepay­ers, ex­plain­ing how it had ar­rived at an av­er­age rate in­crease for year one of 3.2 per cent. It has since tran­spired that the ac­tual av­er­age rate in­crease for year one fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of pub­lic sub­mis­sions will be 3.4 per cent and the rea­sons for the in­crease of 0.2 per cent are out­lined in the fi­nal ver­sion of the LTP and also in the me­dia.

Later in the year when the coun­cil con­sid­ers the An­nual Plan for the 2013/14 fi­nan­cial year, it will have to de­cide whether it ap­plies the stated av­er­age in­crease of 3 per cent or use the agreed means to cal­cu­late the rate in­crease of the CPI plus growth in the rat­ing base. It will make this de­ci­sion prior to the con­sul­ta­tion stage of the An­nual Plan, which means that the av­er­age in­crease could change in re­sponse to those sub­mis­sions when the An­nual Plan is adopted.

Mr Collins fur­ther ques­tions what res­i­dents can be­lieve about the LTP and the best re­sponse to this ques­tion comes from the au­di­tor-gen­eral, who is re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing in­de­pen­dent ad­vice to the coun­cil on the LTP and who is­sued an un­qual­i­fied au­dit re­port which stated that the city coun­cil has com­plied with re­quire­ments of the Act in all ma­te­rial re­spects demon­strat­ing good prac­tice for a coun­cil of its size and scale within the con­text of its en­vi­ron­ment.

The LTP was adopted with sound fis­cal poli­cies based on af­ford­able ser­vice lev­els which main­tain the char­ac­ter of the city and pre­serve those fea­tures which con­sul­ta­tion and in­de­pen­dent sur­veys have told us res­i­dents value highly. trum­pet and ukulele), ably sup­ported by Reuben Bradley (drums), Mostyn Cole (bass) and Fran Bar­ton (vo­cals), ex­plored an amaz­ing range of mu­sic with a jazz twist, start­ing from early last cen­tury, and em­brac­ing light or­ches­tral, quirky, pop, Latin Amer­i­can and ro­man­tic.

The ex­plo­ration was with typ­i­cal en­ergy, verve and vir­tu­os­ity, dis­play­ing a wide range of styles, moods and in­ter­pre­ta­tions. The concert was held on Satur­day, July 7, and an en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ence filled the Mana Lit­tle The­atre stu­dio at Plim­mer­ton.

NEIL AITKEN, Cam­borne

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