“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie deliberate, contrived and dishonest but the myth persistent, persuasive and unrealistic,” John F Kennedy.

There’ve been several myths believed as truth at Council over the years but in recent times significant myths have been debunked, discredited and subsequently disowned.

‘Tauranga’s residential rates are low.’ This myth has always been used as ‘justification’ for those wishing to impose large rate rises on residents. Despite evidence for several years from the Taxpayers Union that Tauranga is among the highest rating cities in the country this myth persisted; aided by the odd anecdote like ‘my friend lives in Christchurch and they pay more than me’. It was finally put to bed, forever, during debate on putting rates up 12.6 per cent when TCC staff provided clear evidence that showed we are second only to Auckland, among the cities, in our average residential rates.

‘Growth pays for growth.’ This handy myth benefitted developers cashing in on sprawling residential developments. It was argued for years that shiny new infrastructure was all being paid for through subdivision and building fees. However, due to developer friendly Government legislation, Council could never recover the full costs of development. This myth was destroyed when it was revealed that existing ratepayers had subsidised infrastructure for subdivisions to the tune of $40m!

‘Growth benefits everyone.’ This myth is probably the most pernicious and justifies further urban sprawl. It has deprived our city of the money for amenities we should have; it’s time for an honest, factual, conversation about growth.

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