Voters urged to consider success in reducing rates

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Maitland Manning.
Maitland Manning.

Although change seems to be the "in word" in this year's CHB local body elections, current councillor Maitland Manning says change for change's sake overlooks all the good work done over recent years.

Mr Manning is running again for a seat on the rural Aramoana/Ruahine ward and said he preferred the word "challenge" to describe the climate the council had faced head on.

"Let's look at rates, one hardly ever hears them mentioned now, but two terms ago they were the major topic."

He said that under Mayor Peter Butler and finance committee chairwoman Sally Butler the council had reduced rates from about 9 per cent to an average of 2.1 per cent - well under the Consumer Price Index.

"This is a major achievement, one which gives the average ratepayer help in budgeting, and farming and commerce confidence in projecting some of their future costs."

He said the drop in rate increases was not done easily and it appeared to have been forgotten that the council continued to hold rates at a sustainable level.

"At this stage I wonder where all the money is coming from to honour the promises being made on the hustings by prospective new councillors?"

As well as keeping rates down, he said another challenge the council faced came from central government.

"From their actions one would have to assume this was a socialist government instead of a supposed supporter of free enterprise.

"I'm referring to the Local Government Commission Amendment Bill number 2, which has the potential to take control of our council's assets.

"This is a nationwide issue, but we still have to be seen to be vigilant fighting for our local council assets to ensure that we don't lose control of them."

Looking ahead, the council would also have to maximise the benefits for families from the Ruataniwha dam, in terms of jobs and opportunities.

"We need to continue to improve our rivers' water quality.

"We seem to forget that people have been swimming in our rivers for generations, even when those rivers were poorly treated, with little effect.

"Even today local anglers can still catch their limit bag of trout."

He said if re-elected he would continue to focus on core services and supported extending the shared services agreement with neighbouring councils to encompass the continuing demands put on local councils by the Government with no extra funding.

A fourth-term councillor, he said he was seeking a fifth term due to his belief that he brings considerable experience, including 15 years in governance, being chair of a number of national and district boards and serving on others - the latest the newly formed board of the RNZRSA.

He said he is a fellow of the Institute of Management FNZIM, a fellow of the New Zealand Trustees Assn, FNZTA, and a member of the Institute of Directors. He is also a JP and received a QSM for services to the community.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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