The Bay of Plenty Times welcomes letters and comments from readers. Here you can read the letters we have published in your newspaper today.
Guy chop leaves grey area
Congratulations, Councillor Murray Guy.
I drove down Devonport Rd the other day and noticed that the old cypress tree has indeed gone from outside Sharp Tudhope's new building.
I remember reading your past statement about the tree (December 14, 2011).
Quote: "This tree has got to go. The contribution Sharp Tudhope has made to the community over the years is more than any old cypress tree, by a thousandfold." Unquote.
Well, Councillor Guy, congratulations.
Seems that you got your way.
We now have another multi-storey concrete box, on another drab city corner, devoid of any life - green and natural, that is.
Shall I vote for you next election? Doubt it.
VIV SOWERBY, Tauranga
What planet are N and N Leef (March 1) on when it comes to solving the problems of tangata whenua here in Tauranga Moana? Do they expect the magic wand of Winston to solve it all for them? Ngapuhi or not, what is the relevance of tribal whakapapa when it comes to walking their talk in their own back yard?
We have never seen N and N Leef or Winston show at any of our hui, be they community or marae focused. Instead, they stand on the sideline and criticise others that work tirelessly for their people.
When Winston shows up with N and N Leef and talks to us kanohe ki te kanohe, then perhaps we, the people who do the hard yards, will listen.
PAUL ROBINSON, Greerton
Today's newspapers make dismal reading, where violent crime and dishonesty in high places dominate. The mainstream churches who led the Christian invasion of New Zealand have fallen silent. Not a word of condemnation issues from the Bishop of Waiapu, resident in Napier and responsible for the Anglican churches in the Bay of Plenty. By his own admission, writing in the recent issue 50 of the Waiapu News, he enjoys "lounging under shade in the yard of the episcopal residence, reading a cheap paperback novel, while nursing a G and T." With such an attitude, no wonder New Zealand has fallen into moral turpitude. Many professed Anglicans see little reason to support clergy who seem to exist in a "rose garden", expounding archaic theology, observing meaningless ritual, while ignoring the desperate state of moral decline into which this country has fallen.
ROBERT SHAW, Matua
Re: Council amalgamations.
The main satisfaction on the to-be-announced proposed council amalgamations is that the Government has already clearly stated they will not force communities to merge but provide the means to do so should they wish to.
After 25 years on the TCC, Mayor Crosby's view is quite clear (Bay Times, Feb 29) that he strongly supports amalgamation and therefore obviously believes that bigger is better.
Following the enforced merger of Mount Maunganui borough and Tauranga councils in 1989, for the next eight years Mount rates increased at a far greater rate than Tauranga's in order to catch up, as they were some 20 per cent plus higher than they were at the Mount. Was this actually a good outcome for Mount residents?
Any merger/amalgamation must be a win-win for all parties involved and, with the issues facing other councils in our area, I see little or no benefit in considering any amalgamations at this time.
Ask Auckland city ratepayers what they think about their Super City and let's learn from their experience.
However, with an incumbent mayor supporting the proposal, extreme care will need to be taken and I would support vigorous debate on the issue.
MIKE BAKER, Bethlehem
Leading us astray
It is interesting to read that the region's six mayors have discussed informally the prospect of a single unitary super council for the entire Bay of Plenty, and that Mayor Stuart Crosby is apparently hoping that expected sweeping local government reforms could lead to this becoming a reality.
Mayor Crosby mentioned that there has been a lot of talk that councils have stepped outside their core business since the 2002 Local Government Act laid out councils' responsibilities for a community's social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being. I believe these responsibilities in the act are core requirements for any council in an effective democracy, and the mayor's questioning of their relevance seems to indicate that this is another example of our leadership failing to foster democracy.
So this raises serious questions about the type of leadership we have, both locally and nationally. Therefore, the major responsibility of our leaders, I believe, should firstly be to more effectively implement the act's requirements in partnership with the citizens.
As citizens, it's important that we demand more of our leaders and their bureaucracies, and especially so when we see examples throughout the world where leaders' self-interests are suppressing democracy and people's participation, at huge cost to citizens.
HUGH HUGHES, Mount Maunganui
I am a little bit confused over the reasons for water rates rises. According to waters general manager Steve Burton, we are on track to meet the council's requirements for reducing the peak demand down to 450L per day from 750L. As a result of this we are now facing increased charges for water. So are we supposed to use water or save water? Please make up your mind and let us know. Does this mean that, if we strive to meet council requirements for different projects, this will lead to increased costs being imposed back on the consumer?
PETER WILSON, Otumoetai
Re: Headline water rates set to rise with fixed supply charge set to double.
What a crock. The plants/systems the council uses to supply ratepayers with water have been doing so for many years.
Have we seen a doubling in the size of these plants? Have we seen a hugely significant increase in the cost of running these plants?
What we have seen is that the increased customer base must have significantly increased the revenue to the council.
In fact, the whole rating system needs an overhaul. Long-established suburbs like Matua, Otumoetai, Brookfield and many others have long ago, through the outdated rating system run now, more than paid for their fair share of the cost for the infrastructure to support their suburbs and normal regional development.
In effect, these long-established suburbs are heavily subsidising the real costs of establishing infrastructure to all of these blossoming new subdivisions, which are kilometres away on the other side of the region.
It's about time that a fairer rating system was looked at that doesn't penalise ratepayers who are already paying more than their fair share of the rating income needs of the council, especially pensioners and those on fixed incomes etc.
BRIAN CONNING, Brookfield
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