The Tauranga City Council is trying to fly under the radar, in my view, with this levy stuff – why didn't TCC just include in general rates increase - reason because people see issues immediately. The way forward, 40 per cent less council staff, less wasteful overpriced projects, zilch "nice to haves" nonsense and more transparency and accountability. Fiascos with City Centre rebuild, Phoenix Park, consultancies on libraries, museums, stadiums, plus topping up Waitangi settlements – all lead to higher debt.

What concerns Tauranga citizens are the basic rights of life, good water, sewage, stormwater, transport, electricity and rubbish collections. Since 2007, there have been serious financial issues, and now the likes of Bella Vista and so forth inspire no confidence. Local Government commissioners need to be appointed post haste. As for keeping within the debt ceiling level, this is claptrap since many of us maintain debt level breached years ago continues unabated.

As they say, you can hide many sins, but you cannot hide debt and rates. (Abridged)

S Paterson
Tauranga

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The Elms

In response to Mr Dey, (Letters, April 4), in my view, the purpose of local government is (among other things) to promote the social economic environmental and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future.

TCC is not in itself obliged to gift back purchased land to the vendor and then pay a rental. The Elms continues to promote the cultural history of all New Zealanders and is one of the oldest heritage sites in New Zealand. The people of New Zealand have paid hugely in terms of legislated goodwill. The various statutes have rigorous provisions for Treaty implementation for which the nation is paying. This is not one of them. The Council assisted in the purchase of the land for the future development of the Elms and also to prevent commercial ownership of adjoining land. Gifting the Lot in question immediately creates an opportunity for iwi to have both a commercial and governance interest. The peninsula was originally purchased by the Mission Society after it was abandoned by Maori after inter-tribal warfare. The Anglican Church has already gifted 14 acres of Te Papa (which it had purchased legally) to the winner. How much more goodwill do you want? The transfer of Lot 11 to anyone other than the Elms would be another transaction not in the interests of the ratepayers and the majority of the Bay of Plenty people.

R.E.Stephens
Papamoa
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