Can politicians keep their promises?

By: Blogger

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

That’s the question Patrick Gower asked Bill English and Jacinda Ardern at a pre-election debate a few months ago. You can judge their answers, but what if the same question was asked of local government politicians?

This week we were presented with the draft rates requirement for the coming year - a 13.6 per cent increase. This figure represents decisions councilors made on projects over the last few months but, more significantly, the rising cost of infrastructure and the failure of the rating system to cope.

We’re not alone. Hamilton are discussing a 16.5 per cent increase for the same reasons. Clearly, the days of running a city by invoicing property owners isn’t sustainable anymore.

We can do better. Despite claims from some of my colleagues to the contrary, TCC already has the highest average rates of the major centres outside of Auckland.

The excuse that we charge less is a fiction. Rather than ‘giving up’ and asking you for more, we should exercise the leadership we did last term and direct staff to find savings to bring the increase down to an acceptable level.

There are significant savings to be had by considering if we are too ‘risk focused’ when building infrastructure, and there are easy wins in canning minor spends such as $210,000 for ‘media advocacy’ to promote certain types of art.

I believe you elected us to trim the budget into shape before we present it to you. Some don’t want to, that’s democracy. We’ll debate this again on December 8. In the meantime, here’s a link to promises made last election: https://sunlive.co.nz/tauranga-city-council.html