THE Whanganui District Council owns a large number of flats throughout the city that are available for those aged over 55 to rent as affordable community housing.

The portfolio is carefully managed by staff to ensure the flats are fit for purpose. Due to this careful management, no ratepayer funds go into them.

There has always been a no-pets policy and all tenants are aware of this. This prevents complaints among residents, reduces damage from urine and fleas etc., and removes the staff from having to be the pet police.

It came to the council's attention, due to a complaint, that one resident has been breeding birds in their unit, and a number of others have taken birds as pets into their units. Naturally, people become attached to their pets, and the benefit of having a pet is well known.

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The council has not reviewed its "no pets" stance for some time, and it is timely to reassess the risks versus benefits.

An information-only paper will come to the Property and Community Services Committee on May 28. Staff are currently undertaking a full review of the council flats policies and practices including the no-pets stance and after consulting with all current tenants, the findings and recommendations will come to a future meeting for full discussion and decision-making by all councillors.

In the meantime, those residents who have adopted a pet bird will be able to keep them.

CR HELEN CRAIG
Chairwoman, Property & Community Services Committee


Humane pet policy please

The letters from Doug Price and T. Burns (Page 9, April 30) commenting on the Whanganui council's pet policy have exposed the matter very well. Pension flat tenancy agreements expressly forbid pets in the complexes.

Doug Price mentions the squawking of birds around the neighbourhood and the magpie could be added. These are but a few sounds from the houses that surround the pensioner flat complex. There are about 10 dogs barking their heads off as you pass by. Others can be heard periodically during the day and can be heard up to 10 and 11 at night.

But this business about eviction if the budgie, canary or other, is not got rid of — will the council pay veterinarian costs to put the pets to sleep?

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Mr Price alluded to the council's paltry (poultry) policy on pets. (Reference — caged frozen chook.)

T. Burns makes the sound observation about the benefits of pets to the well-being of the home-bound and other pensioners.

I arrived back to my home town, Whanganui, in November 2014, having been in London teaching and travelling the world for over 30 years. Prior to this I applied for a pensioner flat, giving the necessary details and a reference from Hatfield Council Housing, Hertfordshire, where I lived in a pension flat after retirement.

The Hatfield Housing policy was "no pets allowed".

When tenants moved in, having a pet from their previous residency, perhaps a cat or dog, they were permitted to bring the pet with them. Perhaps, having these from being puppies or kittens and becoming attached to them and vice-versa.

But if any of these pets passed on, the tenants were not allowed to replace them.

I think you will agree, readers (I hope some of the readers will be council members), that was a humane and sensible policy.

The Whanganui council might follow that example and revise their tenants' agreement.

WAYNE SHAW
Gonville


Happy to pay the tax

Ian McKelvie (Chronicle, April 4) has described the capital gains tax as a tax on hardworking people saving for their retirement.

Capital is not income; it is excess savings, investments, inheritance maybe, that is not used for living expenses. This is most likely to be held by those on a much higher income, such as $5 million per annum, than those on the living wage.

Those on the living wage, a family with two children, for instance, do not amass much capital, since they are likely to be paying off a mortgage until retirement age.

Those on a $5 million income, which is quite common nowadays, with careful investment, can continue to grow their capital quite fast. These are the people who will pay the capital gains tax. Or who should pay it.

This is a true story. Around 1997, I lived in Katikati and worked as a real estate salesperson. I met a man there who had started a very successful kiwifruit orchard.

So successful that his accountant recommended he invest in more bare land and plant another kiwifruit orchard in order to avoid paying a very large sum in income tax. He said he didn't want to do that. He lived in New Zealand, and was happy to pay tax. He used the roads, the facilities, the beaches, the horse-riding tracks, his family was happy and so was he. He had enough, he did not want more.

This is what is missing now. The family farms and businesses gave a family enough, instead of industries more and more millions.

SARA DICKON
St John's Hill


Send your letters to: Letters, Whanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Whanganui 4500; or email letters@wanganuichronicle.co.nz