Rates re­view

Rotorua Daily Post - - Nation -

would bring a num­ber of com­muters out of car seats and on to bike sad­dles. Peter Wain­wright Western Heights

Scenic train

As I trav­elled to Mt Maun­ganui and back I no­ticed the num­ber of tourist buses trav­el­ling to Ro­torua from the mas­sive cruise liner at the Mount.

On my way home later in the day, the buses were re­turn­ing their pas­sen­gers to the cruise liner. Also, the log­ging train that runs into the port was trav­el­ling along the side of the road.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could ex­tend that rail­way line to have a “Scenic Train Route” from The Mount to Ro­torua?

Not only would the visi­tors have a great scenic trip, but also lo­cals in Ro­torua and Tau­ranga. It would also save wear and tear on the roads and less traf­fic. In my opin­ion, money on such a ven­ture would be well in­vested, as logs from Ro­torua could also be trans­ported along the same line.

Viv Radley

Ro­torua Did any­body no­tice the brief re­port in the Ro­torua Daily Post (page 5, Novem­ber 2) ti­tled, ‘Rates re­viewed’?

It ex­plained that “coun­cil’s eight rates re­view fo­cus groups have been com­pleted. The fo­cus groups were to see if any changes to the cur­rent rat­ing frame­work were needed.”

I am not hold­ing my breath. Let me ex­plain why.

Coun­cil agreed on Au­gust 9 to a

pro­posal from of­fi­cials that a ”rates pre-view” should be­gin with ”ground-truthing” work­shops for coun­cil­lors (run by of­fi­cials to clar­ify the prin­ci­ples of the rates sys­tem), fol­lowed by con­fi­den­tial fo­cus groups of se­lected ratepay­ers (re­stricted to rates al­lo­ca­tions and con­trolled by of­fi­cials), with out­comes to be re­ported by of­fi­cials.

In my view, this process has four po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.

It re­in­forces a nar­ra­tive that rates rises are due to ris­ing prop­erty val­ues, when in fact they are to pay for the prom­ises made in the Long-Term Plan.

It in­su­lates the mayor and coun­cil­lors from feed­back from ratepay­ers at proper pub­lic hear­ings about the fair­ness and ef­fi­ciency of this prop­erty tax, and how well rates are be­ing used.

It dis­tracts at­ten­tion from the Ro­torua Dis­trict Res­i­dents and Ratepay­ers’ 36-page re­port on Au­gust 15 that iden­ti­fied 14 acute pol­icy and prac­tice is­sues around rates, start­ing with an af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis. The fo­cus groups di­vide and con­quer ratepay­ers by col­lect­ing the in­for­ma­tion needed to ma­nip­u­late the al­lo­ca­tions of rates be­tween them and to min­imise elec­toral im­pact.

So, how do you rate their chances? Reynold Macpher­son Ro­torua

Those who com­mute or ca­su­ally bike should be able to choose for them­selves if they should don head­gear or not, writes Peter Wain­wright.

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