I agree with Steve Baron ("Wage woes", May 29) on what I consider is a disgraceful attitude of some district councillors revealed by the reported debate on a living wage for council employees ("Living wage plan dead in the water", May 22).

The councillors who killed further discussion on the living wage were, by and large, already wealthy.

Where is their empathy for the wellbeing of the citizenry of Whanganui?

In a small, friendly, beautiful city like ours, I think we should be caring for the deserving, less well-off we all live among.


All the mayor and deputy mayor wanted was more information so that a living wage could later be discussed at council.

That stance alone was the epitome of good sense - Hamish McDouall and Jenny Duncan will be getting my vote next year.

The other stony-hearted scrooges shan't be, unless they redeem themselves in the meantime, for they do have other excellent qualities.

In answer to a question at the council candidates' meetings of 2016, Alan Taylor stated being against a living wage; I don't recall other candidates supporting that view.

I stated I would, indeed, push for a living wage - and will state the same again, should I stand again.

And don't give me rubbish about "can't afford it". The council budget might be around $50 million, and it would take $122,000 (Chronicle; May 22) to bring employees up to the living wage - approximately 0.2 per cent of the budget.

I'll helpfully reveal names of the scrooge councillors come next election.

STAN HOOD, Aramoho
Dog run plea

As a responsible dog owner, I take my dog to the St John's Otamatea reserve where he runs to his heart's content in the dog run-enclosure. This return drive across town and back is 13km.

I have come across other people from Durie Hill and Whanganui East who also visit the park with their dogs.

It occurred to us that a dog run could be established by the district council somewhere more central, maybe on the western boundary of Kowhai Park. It would stop cross-town traffic and conserve fuel.

Something to think about.

Not too much tax

National MP Ian McKelvie wrote last week that the economy will "drop an anchor" with the new Budget with too much taxing and spending. This is pure fantasy.

Guyon Espiner pointed out that "government spending will be 28 per cent of GDP. That is lower than the figure for almost all of National's three terms in office".

Economist Max Rashbrooke disagreed slightly, stating that public spending under National had slowly fallen, but now overall spending is up slightly. "But even so, plenty of reasonable demands for funding are not being met. While an extra 7000 state houses sounds good, the waiting list is already at 8000 and growing."

To put this in perspective, we spend 28 per cent per GDP, which is among the lowest in the developed world. According to OECD data, faster-growing economies such as the Netherlands spend 44.9 per cent, Sweden 49.6 per cent - and Sweden was cited among leaders in economic growth, according the World Economic Forum.

We have one of the lowest tax thresholds in the developed world - once at 66 per cent, now at 33 per cent for the highest earners.

We have unfair trusts that have become tax havens for the wealthy. We are the only developed nation without a capital gains tax, now an alarming tax loophole for speculators who wait only two years to sell.

According to the NZ Herald: "The average single worker in New Zealand pays the second lowest amount of tax in a comparison against similarly wealthy countries."

Although tax revenue as a whole is higher, the crucial tax wedge is only 17.6 per cent, next to last in the OECD. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11621537

Health, education, housing, the arts all are in crisis due to lack of spending.

Our Government is still irrefutably among the lowest taxing, lowest indebted and the lowest of spenders in the developed world.


Day of shame

The repeal of Article 8 of the Irish Constitution marks a day of shame for the people of Ireland - it represents the tyranny of the born over the unborn.

Article 8 acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother,.

The Irish Parliament will now amend the law to withdraw the protection of the state for the right to life of the unborn, the weakest and most defenceless members of the Irish nation.

Our right to life is not conferred by the state or public consent, it is conferred on us by our creator at conception. For Ireland to allow for its own children to be killed before birth is a crime against humanity.

The repeal of Article 8 does not make the killing of the unborn right, nor can any law make it just.

A compassionate society will do all in its power to support and love the mother and baby.

KEN ORR, Spokesman, Right to Life