SunLive         

We’re now more than halfway through the consultation period for Tauranga City Council’s draft 2021-31 long-term plan and your Commissioners are enjoying the opportunity to talk to people around the city about our issues and priorities.

Most of the feedback we’re receiving shows that people have realistic expectations. They know that the city’s infrastructure problems and lack of community facilities can’t be addressed without significant investment, and they realise that will mean increases in rates – it’s just a matter of how much and how the costs will be shared.

We’re looking forward to receiving lots of considered submissions on the proposed work programme in the draft plan, and also suggestions about how the programme should be paid for. The Council is working closely with central Government to get more funding for new housing areas and the roads, water and wastewater systems they require.

We’re also proposing to increase the development contributions paid by developers; and shifting a fairer share of the total rates burden to the business sector through an increase in the commercial differential rate. The latter move would bring us more into line with the commercial differentials applying in other major New Zealand cities.

To date, the business sector has been very supportive, which is really heartening. Interestingly though, the Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance, supported by the Taxpayers’ Union, has taken a negative approach, essentially suggesting that we should cut costs and constrain investment in the city. That short-sighted view is based on their contention that rates are already too high, but the union’s own local government rankings show that Tauranga sits well down the list for both total operating costs per household (40th out of 66 councils) and personnel costs per household (30th out of 66).

One thing is certain – nothing will improve without decisive governance, something the city has been deprived of for far too long.

Commission News & Views
with Commission Chair
Anne Tolley