Re Hemo gorge roundabout and cycle track to Waipa.

A big congratulations to everyone involved in the construction of both projects from the motorist's perspective and the cyclists - a job well done.

It is good to see the cycle tracks linking up around Rotorua and to all you disbelievers of cycle tracks try getting out of your cars and putting your backsides on a bicycle seat. You'll have so much fun and the scenery will blow your mind right in your own backyard.

GAVIN MUIR
Rotorua

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I have just read the proposal that millions be spent on the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. I would have thought our civic leaders have other priorities to focus on. For example, the Rotorua museum and the city centre plus the normal infrastructure services so badly needed.

The council still hasn't acknowledged to any serious extent that it's up to its eyeballs in debt. The ratepayers are not the cash cow they think we are.

It is time now that the people we elected did the job that we elected them to do and seriously get this debt under control.

DEREK PACKHAM
Lake Tarawera

Yes, John Pakes is right (Letters, November 8), Rotorua did score a Fitch rating of AA-, but press releases should not always be taken as gospel. Had he investigated this further, he would have discovered that the analysis also included "... amid debt metrics that remain weaker than the average AA- peers". (Reuters, March 31).

He is obviously also unaware that AA- was the lowest rating given, an ignominious position Rotorua shared with one other town in New Zealand rated by Fitch.

Another interesting piece of information. Most towns and cities in New Zealand use the global financial research company Standard and Poors, possibly to get more comprehensive comparisons with similar sized towns, but in some cases maybe, this would be a bad thing.

One of the reasons this type of rating is requested by councils is to justify and enable debt increase. That begs the question. How is this increased debt going to be repaid if debt levels continue to rise?

From one whose job included regular statistical analysis and reporting, statistics are very interesting and even fun because they are very malleable.

The recipient of these data can interpret them in any way with reporting or summarising often dependent on the desired outcome and how they are spun. It's easy to blow one's own trumpet by releasing and describing only the positive data. The converse is also equally possible.

What we really need is unexpurgated data from which we can draw our own conclusions.

PADDI HODGKISS
Rotorua

I feel I should respond again to John Pakes, this time about his 'fine rating' of our council. He talks about 'transparent reporting and financial disclosures'.

What a laugh! The other day, when council was obliged to disclose how much they had spent on a legal defence of the CE, it took a LGOIMA request to prise the number of $63,487.48 out of them.

Then Mr Pakes talks about 'predictable revenue'. Well, we don't need a professional accountant for that. Anyone can tell you that next week the overdraft of $169 million will be higher again. Nothing to be proud of.

Of course the council now partly blames the closure of the museum and SHMPAC for that, hoping that we will forget that the debt was already $174m before the earthquake struck. That's what I call a shocking disclosure.

HARRY BRASSER
Rotorua