Time to debunk the myths
Let’s debunk some myths; a timely exercise given the upcoming election. United States film producer Sam Goldwyn is famously misquoted as saying ‘‘a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it is written on’’. could be applied to aspiring politicians’ promises also?
It’s easy to swing at the status quo. But my thesis is (and yes, it is a broad generality), if something is not being currently provided by any council, chances are it’s because it is (a) unaffordable or (b) it’s in a priority queue, but not at the top. Or (c), not achievable, and sometimes not appropriate. Not, as some would have, because councils are just plain contrary.
We hear cries of ‘‘we need/ want/deserve a new hall/park/ playground/etc’’. Being human, of course we want to find a solution. But like any organisation, from playcentre to household, school or business, a council must work within its means.
That’s dictated by the rates received and Waikato District simply doesn’t have the rating density that Auckland has. Sure we could do more, but at what cost? Are ratepayers happy to bear the resulting large rates increase year after year?
So when I hear ‘‘we pay big rates but only get a …insert topic here !’’, I wonder why lack of understanding. It’s more frequent from rural ratepayers, who clearly have issues with unsealed roads and feel they get minimal services, but urban areas are also guilty - perhaps envious - of neighbouring towns.
Consider this: buying a pie when you are in town - councils monitor hygiene standards. The water to make your coffee is clean and always available. Rubbish bins take your pie wrapper and disposable cup. The public toilet you might suddenly need is available (and cleaned). You’ve parked on a safe road, with street lights, traffic signs, speed limits.
And for the rural folk, roads got you to town in the first place (provided by everyone’s rates). Footpaths allowed access to the library (or you could use free internet) - again paid for by your rates.
The hairdresser you might go to is monitored to be safe and clean. Your rates help cover consents and monitoring, so your neighbour doesn’t establish intensive farming hard against your house, tankers have roads to access your farm, oh – and when there is a fire, thank Heavens for the council-supported rural fire service.
This environment that makes up the bigger social picture is supported by all ratepayers, and to some greater or lesser extent, we all do receive benefits. Voting is in October this year; ensure you quiz politicians’ on their promises.
To finish, here’s some doozies from the US list of politicians promises: Sarah Palin promised to stand by America’s North Korean allies, and Al Gore promised zebras would not change their spots. Donald Trump, anyone? The market may crash one day and some people are going to be in serious trouble. Michael Gaiger, posting on Facebook to stuff.co.nz story - Auckland house buyer makes $100k overnight. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must have full name, residential address and phone number. The editor reserves the right to abridge or withhold any correspondence. Letter may be edited for sense, paper’s style, brevity or good taste. Letters may be referred to others for right of reply. Write to Letters to the Editor, North Waikato News, PO Box 14, Pukekohe or email firstname.lastname@example.org.