Reporter Samantha Motion hit the nail on the head in her editorial (April 2) when she talked about congestion being Tauranga's biggest problem. Certainly when it comes to the roads and public transport it is.

It is imperative we keep people moving and the region urgently needs public transport infrastructure in order to help this, address traffic congestion and support efficient travel around Tauranga.

As a regional council we manage the urban and rural bus network, while Tauranga City Council manages the roading and transport infrastructure.

We all need to work together to address the region's growth challenges as no single agency can do it alone.

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Bay of Plenty Regional Council remains confident the blueprint changes Ms Motion mentions will contribute to a more efficient bus network, reducing the pressure on our roads. We do acknowledge, however, we have some issues to resolve before we see this outcome.

During February, a large number of trips were dropped by contractor NZ Bus as they
struggled with a lack of drivers. The flow-on effect from this was felt in a number of areas like the transfer system.

We will continue to work with our partners, and our community, to ensure that our public transport network is running as efficiently and effectively as possible as soon as possible.

Fiona McTavish
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana chief executive

Helping the homeless

Marama Davidson needs to get her head out of the sand (Opinion, April 7). If you want to know what's happening in Tauranga come down and talk to us.

What drives most begging is mental health, drug and alcohol issues - which is quite different from those struggling to put a roof over their family's head. There are numerous organisations trying to help the homeless and many are supported by the council.

We've given $80k for the women's shelter and provide significant support to the men's shelter. We recently gave $40k to the People's Project, which was supposed to be funded by the Government. Te Tuinga Whānau are doing wonderful work and have had some support from the council.

Numerous independent groups and organisations feed and clothe the homeless.

All of the above was the responsibility of successive governments which failed.

I personally moved we put aside $200k for a community wellbeing fund to find ways to support the homeless.

I have worked with groups to try and find places for a drop-in centre and a night shelter for those left behind.

We are not chasing people out of town, or stopping begging and rough sleeping, we are restricting where they can operate.

What I will not do is let a few people potentially destroying the livelihoods of small business trying to make a living in difficult circumstances. This was happening in one of our smaller shopping centres until we took a more proactive line.

If Marama wants to support those on the streets then she should properly fund the DHBs to look after those with mental health and drug and alcohol issues and build some social housing.

[Abridged]
Terry Molloy
Tauranga City Councillor
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