A big question for the October 12, 2019 election is: "Which ideas will govern the future development of Rotorua 2019-2022?" Another repackaging of Vision 2030 or what's best for everyone in a changing context?
Since 2013, Vision 2030 has promised prosperity, equity and welfare for all through co-governance, public investment in infrastructure, and prudent financial management. In my view, it delivered vanity and legacy projects, trend-growth only, unaffordable housing and waste – funded by debt and rates rises that impoverish the elderly and poor.
Yet Vision 2030 continues to be presented as a simple truth that's "clearly right" when it's obviously not.
The simple truth has a twin belief – only the negative, ill-informed, deceitful, or stupid could possibly question it – denying any role to reasonable opposition.
But Vision 2030 needs to be questioned by reasonable opposition because honest, rational, knowledgeable and intelligent people can disagree over big answers.
Hence, we need real public debate, not "consultations" or biased media coverage. We need to question beliefs using evidence, consequences and principles to refine the knowledge base of proposed big answers.
So, potential candidates with alternative big answers, please offer them. Community organisations wanting to improve the quality of local government, please organise events to test big answers and hold incumbents accountable. Citizens, please participate and trust in democracy to make corrections.
Recall, in 2016, all but three incumbents lost 20-30 per cent of their 2013 votes. Was it public pushback against the simple truth? (Abridged)
Eat Streat, Lakefront not comparable
When I read Merepeka Raukawa Tait's column titled "All cities need big dreamers", I actually thought no. Rather, Rotorua needs visionaries with business acumen, as more often that not, big dreamers become unstuck financially.
The attempt to use the success of Eat Streat as justification to encourage us to support the Rotorua Lakefront rejuvenation, was either naive or manipulative.
Eat Streat only cost $2.7 million and it housed businesses that all made a financial contribution of at least $20,000 each towards the retractable roof over the outdoor eating area in front of their businesses.
It was private enterprise that made the contribution and also had the benefit of the remodelling with increased profits.
If we used that same business model for the Lakefront, then the tourist operators receiving a new building to operate out of, and the spa resort being built by Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, who will gain lake sight lines and privacy with the demolition of the Scout hall, clearance of trees and closure of the road from the Lakefront to the museum, should be contributing the $20 million towards the rejuvenation of the Lakefront, not the ratepayers.
After all, it is these private enterprises that will be receiving the financial benefit, as the Lakefront carparks and public access will be taken away from the community.
While the council pursues its pie-in-the-sky dreams and schemes, with the $40 million Lakefront expenditure, including the $1 million playground, ratepayers will be left wondering if they will ever wake from the nightmare of the mountains of debt and increased interest costs the council is steamrolling them into.
More likely, ratepayers will be left steaming at the council's dreaming.
The Rotorua Daily Post welcomes letters from readers. Please note the following:
• Letters should not exceed 250 words.
• They should be opinion based on facts or current events.
• If possible, please email.
• No noms-de-plume.
• Letters will be published with names and suburb/city.
• Please include full name, address and contact details for our records only.
• Local letter writers given preference.
• Rejected letters are not normally acknowledged.
• Letters may be edited, abridged, or rejected at the Editor's discretion.
• The Editor's decision on publication is final.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Editor, PO Box 1442, Rotorua 3040.