It appears Paddi Hodgkiss (Letters. April 12) remains unconvinced regarding the validity of the business case for the Rotorua Lakefront Development. Fortunately, the Ministry of Business and Innovation is convinced. They found the business case to be robust, including detail of nearly 10 years of investigation and generally strong community support. The financial framework, supported by the Fitch AA- rating on the financial stability of Rotorua Lakes Council provided confidence for Government support of $19.9 million through the Provincial Growth Fund. Consultation on the Lakefront Development specifically stated that the project was contingent on securing significant external funding for a project costing $40m.

Over the past two years, formal consultation has been sought from the community during the preparation of the Vision 2030 review, Draft Spatial Plan 2017 and Long Term Plan 2018. On each occasion a variety of opportunities were presented to the community to "have their say" including online, by filling out a feedback form, posting comments and suggestions to the Council Facebook page, in addition to face to face discussions in a group setting. Council representatives were also available to come and talk to any group, club or association.

It would appear that Paddi is unaware or has forgotten that the RDRR group, of which she is a vocal member, provided submissions on the Lakefront Development during at least two of the consultation periods I refer to above.

Council considered all submitted points of view and made a majority decision to proceed with the Lakefront Development as per Vision 2030, the Rotorua Spatial Plan and the Rotorua Lakes Council Long Term Plan. As always, these documents can be viewed on the council website.


Cr Karen Hunt

Business case

In Letters, Paddi Hodgkiss asks "who prepared the business case" for Lake Front development. Easy answer; our Council prepares all of its business cases.

She asks " what communities desire it and who was consulted". Easy answer; the entire community of Rotorua was asked to vote on it via our Long Term Plan with a majority "yes", and the entire community of Rotorua was consulted.

Hodgkiss disparages business cases, stating that in her view they are "inherently vague and statistics can be interpreted in many ways, depending on the desired outcome".

The business case for the Lakefront was put before the New Zealand wide Provincial Growth Fund. The case was robust and valid enough to cause that fund to pump $20 million into the Lakefront development.

She writes "the general consensus is that the major beneficiary will be the new hotel spa complex with its guests staying in "A Room with a View". This is nonsense. Our Council, and the bean counters of the Provincial Growth Fund would not allow $40m million dollars of public money to be spent for the benefit of a private company. Our Local Government auditors and Finch would have a field day.

Hodgkiss also says there was "no well publicised public consultation re the development". Has she forgotten our communities months-long consultation process over our Long Term Plan? (Abridged)

John Pakes

Crusaders debate

My wife asked me the other day about the "demands" for a name change to the Crusaders rugby franchise. I explained as best as I could about the crusades, how the Catholic church and some European kingdoms fought a long campaign (from 1095 to 1492) to free Jerusalem and the "Holy Land" from the Muslim invaders who had cut a violent path through what had been the cradle of early Christianity.

We were at school in the late 50s and early 60s. Seems that by that time history as our parents knew was not being taught, and things are even worse. A people who do not have an accurate picture of their roots (history) are people doomed to make the same mistakes. I would suggest most people have no accurate idea of the reasons behind the demands for a name change and it, therefore, seems to be a kneejerk reaction of no real value. Perhaps we should consider changing the region's name from Canterbury as well as it was possibly the Archbishop who ordered or supported those same wars. Any casual reader of history will know that atrocities are not limited to just one side of any conflict and to picture Islam as being all loving and tolerant is a serious mistake. What's happening in Brunei right now? Sharia law is being damned internationally and it is a sect of Islam as Pentecostalism is of Christianity.

John Williams
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