Letter writer Claire Mahon (Letters, May 1) wonders why I am focused on council debt and states debt is "an investment paid for by future residents" and "an investment in future generations."
The problem is that the council debt is not being repaid, and instead it is increasing at an alarming rate from less than $160 million after Steve Chadwick took office to top over $240 million in an year or two.
The total revenue the council received in 2018 was $120 million so to repay this expected level of debt would take more than two full years of revenue (including millions in interest payments) and providing the council spent exactly zero for this period which obviously cannot happen.
So Mahon expects that future generations of residents will be lumbered with this increasing debt which she calls an investment.
Good luck with that and I am sure future generations and residents will be thankful – not.
This is virtually the same problem that got the world into the Global Financial Crisis in 2007/08 – this head-in-the-sand attitude and poor spending and investment decisions.
Mahon states debt is needed to guarantee that our city progresses "to the levels needed to sustain future debt."
What? Does she mean we have to increase debt continually so that there is enough increasing "progress" to repay this increasing debt?
This is a plain crazy merry go-round. Our city is lovely but increasing debt is not. Roll on the local body elections.
Focus on debt
Claire Mahon asks (Letters, May 1) why commentators and organisations like the RDRR are focused around council debt?
Why not also address that question to the current councillors and the mayor, who have promised to reduce debt in previous election campaigns but failed miserably when it came to their actions?
Mayor Steve Chadwick's 2013 campaign stated the need to control the debt but budget blowouts have seen the debt balloon from $167 million to over $240 million.
If debt reduction was a good enough issue during their campaigns, why is it unreasonable to ask the same Councillors for explanations behind their failure to deliver on their promises?
My concern with debt is this: One day the debt must be repaid, and rates rises required will hit those who can least afford it the hardest. Record low interest rates cannot last forever and will have massive consequences for future ratepayers, many of whom are struggling now.
I agree that debt is a necessary part of council financing however borrowing must be responsible and on projects of lasting value – not luxurious vanity binges on ratepayers' money.
Mahon calls for "forward-looking, progressive plans and polices". What was forward-looking about the council's attitude to retailers who advised against the CBD Cycleway?
I too want a great place to keep living in - now we need a council who can help us afford it.
Drive to conditions
In regards to the recent accidents that have happened around the Atiamuri area, I was employed for about 18 years by NZED at the Atiamuri Power Station.
I lived in the village for 16 of those years and have travelled many miles on that stretch of road and surrounding country roads in the area.
Driving in the winter the fog and the mist were the major factors to keep your speed down.
Whether you were going to Tokoroa, Rotorua or Taupō the fog was always with you.
The main highway was nowhere near as good as it is today especially "Tar Hill" the other side of Atiamuri heading towards Tokoroa where quite a few logging trucks came to grief.
I really think people travel too fast now on that road, they take too many chances and don't drive to the conditions.
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