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 julie.kaio@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz.

Jan Sedgwick

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