I refer to the article regarding elderly people and loneliness (Opinion August 30).

By most accounts, I am elderly, 86, and my wife and I suffer the same fate as many - children living overseas.

But far from lonely. We belong to several groups in Rotorua, U3A - which offers numerous opportunities for elderly people to meet and talk together.

I also belong to the Mad Poets - several of our group are elderly. One or two are even severely crippled but still manage to attend.

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The Rotorua Writers Group - offering opportunities to develop that wish to write a book inherent in all of us.

You do not need your own transport, I have noticed a willingness to help pick up and deliver folk unable to attend.

Many other groups exist to help combat this loneliness.

I suggest that if any elderly people should feel neglected then they should contact these groups. Start with U3A and the Mad Poets, contact numbers are available online, or at the local library or at Atlantis Books or McLeods Booksellers.

Many of us are willing to help.

Jim Adams
Rotorua

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Council spending

In her endeavours to criticise our council for spending too much on arts, culture, sports, recreation and environment at the expense of footpaths, Paddi Hodgkiss plunges into the world of pie charts and percentages and in doing so promptly confuses herself, in my view. (Letters, August 21).

She acknowledges the need for maintenance, but cannot see that arts etc maintenance does cost more than roads and footpaths, a concrete fact.

She then attempts to reinforce (in concrete perhaps) her argument by comparing a particular 10-year capital expenditure item with one that is for maintenance and one year; the Lakefront upgrade and footpath maintenance.

Her arguments do, and she herself confirms, support my observation that she and her ratepayers' group prefer concrete over things such as libraries.

Hodgkiss should make herself aware of the balancing act our council needs to make, almost every day.

To ease her mind, they could correct the imbalance she sees by raising the expenditure for footpaths above that of arts etc, but this would mean an increase in rates and debt, something that would horrify her and her group.

Or, the council could reduce the expenditure for arts etc to be below that of footpaths, but that would mean a reduction in the services, maintenance, and staffing of our library, museum, parks, gardens, playing fields etc.

Perhaps Hodgkiss could let us know her preference - she cannot have both.

John Pakes
Ngongotaha