We wish to correct a statement in a recent letter (Letters, April 15, "Spending concern") relating to the proposed average Rotorua Lakes Council rates increase of 4.9 per cent for the 2019/20 financial year.

The writer incorrectly stated that targeted rates increases would be on top of the general rates increase and that the average overall rates increase would therefore be 7-8 per cent.

The average 4.9 per cent increase the council proposes for the upcoming 2019/20 financial year (starting July 1, 2019) is inclusive of both general and targeted rates, and is the average across all ratepayers and ratepayer groups. As always, some properties will come in under the average and others will come in above, but the average is 4.9 per cent.

This is less than the 5.1 per cent signalled in the 2018-28 Long-term Plan following a directive from elected members which saw staff identify further revenue opportunities and efficiencies.

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Residents can view information relating to the 2019/20 Annual Plan via Rotorua Lakes Council's website.

This includes what is proposed for the coming financial year, including proposed rates increases and how people can provide feedback. Residents can also access the rates calculator to check the impact on their own rates, based on the proposed 4.9 per cent increase.

Final decisions and formal striking of the rates will happen in late June, following public consultation.

People can give feedback by contacting the council online, in writing and face to face at facilitated public sessions where they can speak directly to elected members and have their feedback documented for the council's consideration.

Thomas Collē
Chief financial officer
Rotorua Lakes Council

Airport upgrade

Peter Jones (Letters, April 13) overlooks the primary reason for the Rotorua Airport terminal upgrade.

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We are doing it to address substantive seismic issues across the building. This must be done to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the airport.

Since we already need to upgrade the terminal for this reason, we are taking the opportunity to improve our facilities at the same time.

Passenger and aircraft numbers are continuing to increase: In the 12 months to December 31, 2018, there were 253,000 passenger movements. That's a 25 per cent increase in five years.

As a result of this growth, our existing facilities have been stretched - especially during peak times in summer.

Demand has increased for car parking, rental cars, bus and passenger services.

To improve our customers' experience, we are working to provide both enhanced facilities for existing operators and new facilities for additional businesses that wish to be part of the Rotorua Airport environment.

Growth across the airport is positive. As this continues our airport will become stronger financially, and the improvements will have a flow-on effect.

Additional facilities will allow for new aviation and other businesses to open, passenger seating capacity will increase, and we will move to a point of being fully self-funding.

Mark Gibb
Chief executive
Rotorua Airport

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