Last week I watched a yacht crash into a pier. As the vessel came in backwards at speed there was a commotion on deck with the skipper yelling to the person on the throttle “Forward! Forward!” After the crunch, the skipper, in a moment of true leadership, said “I meant the other forward!” Like that yacht, sometimes councils can have their own momentum and it’s up to your elected representatives to give the order to stop.

Last week could have seen a higher rates and debt increase but for a couple of close votes. While councillors are working together well and debating respectfully it has become apparent that there are two starkly different perspectives about spending.

This difference became clear when debating a new i-Site at Mount Maunganui and a last-minute motion to increase our risk reserve by $1m. The i-Site budget was cut from $4m to $2.5m by a narrow vote of 6-5. Those for the reduction cited non-council buildings of great design that cost much less to build. Those against said $2.5m would buy a ‘shoebox’ in comparison to the $4m design.

The $1m further rates increase was also defeated 6-5. Those for the increase said that Tauranga’s rates are lower than Christchurch’s and that the public are happy for council to take more of their money to create a ‘vibrant’ city. Those against said it was too easy for council to always take more money and we need to make cost savings instead. Next week, what did get funded in the budget?

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