Easter el­bows way into hol­i­day sea­son

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

My pre­dic­tion of two months ago has ma­te­ri­alised. Be­fore the end of Jan­uary, shops were sell­ing ‘‘Easter’’ eggs and hot cross buns. And Easter is late this year – April 20.

So we are faced with three months of Easter fare be­fore it even comes into sea­son.

New Zealand so­ci­ety gen­er­ally prides it­self on its sec­u­lar na­ture.

Woe be­tide any­one who ad­vances re­li­gious rea­sons for or against an is­sue, for in­stance.

And while we have al­ways ob­served such Chris­tian fes­ti­vals as Christ­mas and Easter, more and more they are be­ing eroded by the urge to ren­der them no dif­fer­ent to any other days.

Let the shops be open ev­ery day, re­gard­less. Don’t al­low any ac­knowl­edge­ment of the ori­gins of th­ese fes­ti­vals. Let’s have ad­ver­tise­ments on the tele­vi­sion ev­ery day of the year, in­stead of get­ting 21⁄ days off each 52 weeks.

If the ad­vo­cates of such think­ing pre­vail, we might as well not have a hol­i­day, but just keep on work­ing.

So why la­bel the choco­late eggs and spicy buns on sale at the mo­ment ‘‘ Easter’’ eggs, and ‘‘hot cross’’ buns?

Choco­late eggs are choco­late eggs, no mat­ter what sea­son they are sold. You can make spicy buns, mi­nus the crosses, any time of year.

Are the la­bels just to en­able the ven­dors to put a pre­mium on the price?

Last month I re­minded read­ers this is elec­tion year.

But another is­sue is likely to take our at­ten­tion be­fore that – the de­ci­sion of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion about lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­range­ments in the Wellington re­gion.

How will they vote? I hear Hawkes Bay is fac­ing a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion and many there are ve­he­mently against re­gional amal­ga­ma­tion.

In our area, how­ever, it seems that the fu­ture of our lo­cal gov­ern­ment struc­ture doesn’t even en­gage many of us.

The turnout at the meet­ings last year was low. Maybe it’s time to start re­ally think­ing about the im­pli­ca­tions of var­i­ous op­tions.

What scares me are the cap­i­tal projects be­ing con­sid­ered by Wellington City Coun­cil.

Wellington seems to want to be top dog and have the reins of power and most of the fund­ing.

Given the mil­lions of dol­lars such schemes will re­quire, is Wellington alone pre­pared to carry the debt? Or is it bank­ing on the fact that the Gov­ern­ment seems to like the prospect of a Wellington su­per-city?

The other is­sue that en­gages most home-own­ers is the size of our rates.

For too long, the as­sess­ment of rates has been tied to Quotable NZ’s fic­ti­tious prop­erty val­u­a­tions.

When I read of the huge rises in house prices over the coun­try, I think the lo­cal bod­ies must be rub­bing their hands with glee at the thought of the in­creased rates take.

It’s surely time for a change in the way our rates are as­sessed.

To this end, we have in­vited Mike Reid, prin­ci­pal pol­icy ad­viser to Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment NZ, to ad­dress us.

He spoke to our Grey Power zone meet­ing last year and was very en­light­en­ing on var­i­ous op­tions of rat­ing that would re­duce the bur­den on prop­erty own­ers.

He is worth hear­ing, so come along – and bring a friend.

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