The Rotorua Airport upgrade appears a good thing on the surface. However, when you dig down, it begins to look like yet another dead duck for ratepayers and waste of the district of Rotorua's valuable capital.
Flights numbers have been reduced, short term carpark is rarely at capacity and mainly occupied by rental cars, and the most telling statistic is Rotorua for the past seven years has consistently trailed the field in the list of airport passengers and aircraft landings.
To pun it Rotorua will not fly until we have jets landing and taking off from our airport.
Which begs the question, why the sudden need for an upgrade? (Abridged)
Recognition well deserved
Congratulations to Kiwibank for honouring four remarkable Rotorua citizens (News, April 11), one of whom, Francisca Hawkes-Buchanan, is sadly no longer with us.
Kiwibank, by naming offices after the recipients, Love Soup's Elmer and Gina Pfeiffer, the late Francisca Hawkes-Buchanan, and Ralph Mosen will ensure that the names of these wonderful and selfless people will be remembered on a daily basis.
In my view, they represent the face of humanity in this city.
Concerns over spending
Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers people try hard to be positive, but sometimes it is just impossible.
The Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 predicted that the Annual Plan for 2019-2020 would require $25.6 million of borrowings, $76.2m for capital expenditure and that rates would increase by 5.1 per cent.
The draft Annual Plan for 2019-2020 has borrowings up to $41.4m and capital expenditure jumping to $89.9m. Basic rates will rise by 4.9 per cent, but with targeted rates, the average rise will be 7-8 per cent, much the same as last year.
Pensions will go up by the latest CPI increase of 1.9 per cent. The difference will have to come from everyone's disposable incomes.
Why the jump in borrowings and rates? It is to pay for expenses deferred from the 2018-2019 year plus the commitments in the LTP for 2019-2020. Please check these numbers for yourself at the council's website from April 15.
Sadly, there will be little chance to object. There will be 'cafe meetings' from 4pm-6pm in council on May 7 and 5pm-7pm in the library May 9 where attendees will be hosted at separate tables by officials. There will be no public hearing by elected representatives. The RDRR will boycott these sham consultations.
Submissions will close on May 17. Officials' recommendations will go to council on June 13. The final decision will be made on June 27.
The good news is that the election period is from July 12 to October 12.
Competition will bring down prices
Dentistry costs are over the top. There should be no subsidies to prop up these costs.
How can a charge to pull a front tooth out be $190?
More than an average worker's daily wage. Open up the industry to immigrants who are highly qualified but denied practice because they don't have a New Zealand qualification
which creates a closed shop situation which allows these prices to be charged.
Competition will bring down the price.
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