The country may have lost an opportunity for a badly needed change in government in part due to what I believe to be lies told by Stephen Joyce and Bill English in regards their allegation of a $11.7 billion hole in Labour's proposed budget.

They repeated these lies a number of times despite a number of independent views confirming the hole did not exist. The fact that the PM, who attests to being very religious, had to resort to lies to help to get a majority is a sure sign in my view that National has some serious moral issues despite some people's views that dirty politics is acceptable.

Locally, I see that Todd McCLay has promised more doctors for Rotorua Hospital plus 4-laning of Te Ngae Rd within three years, plus two new schools, 900 new houses and a walking track over Mt Tarawera. Great Todd, and we will hold you to these promises.

[Abridged]
PAUL CARPENTER
Rotorua

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Council behaviour

The all-too-frequent waste scandals, caused in my view by poor judgment in governance and inept project management, remind us the council can restore integrity, democracy, value for rates, privacy and security, human rights and inclusion through reorganisation. How?

Trust in local government can be regenerated by the council behaving with honesty, care, accountability and transparency, in all phases of its policy making and implementation.

Democracy can be restored by returning policy leadership to elected representatives whose open debates should follow public input from the Te Arawa, Rural and Lakes policy advisory boards, expert and politically neutral officials, and stakeholders.

Policy implementation can be delegated to committees of the council concerned with infrastructure, finance, regulation and social services. They can also be expected to propose policies to the council, oversee priorities, enforce zero-based budgeting to help cut debt, and evaluate outcomes against performance criteria.

On values, the council can deliver on a vision of sustainable prosperity by balancing its attention to the needs of people, profits, planet and progress. To boost community capacity building, the council would need to minimise and justify the cost/ benefits of their interventions into citizen's lives. To secure everyone's human rights to inclusion, the council can help guarantee equality before the law and access to public services by accepting Treaty principles as universal Kiwi rights.

The waste scandals helpfully remind us that organisational reform can lead to a new era of trust and legitimacy in local government.

REYNOLD MACPHERSON
Rotorua