If there is ever a topic to get people having a good moan, it's politicians' salaries.

With the news that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern froze MPs' salaries, there was an expected call that councillors should follow her lead.

However, there is a massive difference between MPs salaries and councillors. Your lowest ranking backbench MP is on about $160,000 a year, whereas in Rotorua our councillors with minimal responsibilities were on around a measly $44,000.

The independent remuneration authority recommended this be increased to $47,000.

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While councillors should only stand for office in the interests of serving the public, and not a pay cheque, the increase is hardly an exorbitant amount, given the responsibilities and workload, the screeds of abusive they cop from the public, some deserved, some less so, and other after-hours duties.

I expect that most councillors, if they're not receiving a pension, need to work another job in addition to their council duties in order to make ends meet, which raises the question, would we get better representation if councillors were paid more to enable their sole focus to be on the community?

I note that Mark Gould was one of the councillors who wanted to reject the increase. If Gould doesn't think he deserves the extra funds, or doesn't want them, then I'm sure he'll be able to find a willing charity to pass the funds on to, or he could put them towards the council debt he has seen increase during his 10+ years in office? (Abridged)

Ryan Gray
Rotorua

Gowing pains?

I read with great interest the opinion panel in the Rotorua Daily Post – Is the Rotorua district growing? (Local News, September 1)

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The participants were chosen at random from the streets of Rotorua.

Parking is more difficult to get? Yes, that is because the council removed 70 car parks from the CBD, to create their green corridor. They want you to get on your bike.

Concerns businesses are closing down and still see a lot of closed shops? Yes, because in my view, the council doesn't work with businesses to attract people to the CBD.

Shops are spread out? Yes, that's because good anchor tenants such as Kmart weren't encouraged into the CBD, then other chain stores left the CBD to join them.

Don't like the new City Focus? A lot of people don't, but in my view, that was the council's decision to waste $1.2 million. They want you to picnic without shade, while playing dodgems with the cars, breathing in exhaust fumes while you dine.

Like the night markets? The council does not follow the successful Rotary market model, so the night markets continue to make a loss.

Growing pains, or does the council have a lot to answer for? (Abridged)

Tracey McLeod
Lake Tarawera


Forward thinking
Your correspondents, members of the RDRR brigade must have thrown up when they saw Saturday's Rotorua Daily Post with its headline "Rotorua steaming ahead", real estate figures and at the bottom an advert for the Tall Blacks indicating our success as a community to attract an international event.

Those who point out negativity in our community would have been further disturbed by the extensive article indicating Rotorua is moving forward and even the random comments indicate we are changing.

This started in 2013 and responding to growing demand for new builds, new subdivisions, new residents, more cars, more jobs, more economic activity which is the basis on which council after extensive consultation developed the Spatial Plan, new operative district plan, renewed the 2030 vision and embraced the Rotorua way.

These give a clear signal to investors, tourism operators, retailers, transport companies, health and education providers and sporting organisations of where Rotorua is heading and with business employers, iwi educators and the regional development fund opportunities Rotorua is positioning itself to move forward for the betterment of all residents, non residents and, more importantly, local ratepayers.

Not withstanding the Spatial Plan, I'm not ignoring the many social challenges we face head-on like most provincial areas.

I'm confident with these plans Rotorua is signalling that collectively we are more than open for business, we are innovators looking with vision forward but have the experience to know where we came from. (Abridged)

Charles Sturt
Rotorua district councillor