Neither a borrower ...
The Whanganui Ratepayers Association is perturbed about the latest announcement on the new cost estimate for strengthening and new extension of the Sarjeant Gallery.
We were told by the then mayor in 2015 that the total cost would be $31.5 million. Just five years later, the total cost is estimated to be $49.3m; therefore within a span of five years, the cost has escalated by $17.8m, or $68,500 per week.
The council has so far pledged $5m of the $49.3m, with the remainder generated from fundraising, the provincial growth fund, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, lottery grants and local fundraising.
Taking nothing away from the supreme fundraising efforts to date, our concerns are that if costs are escalating at a rate of $68,500 per week, can the council keep to the proposed budget within the next 32 months of construction, or will ratepayers have to (as pledged) fund any differences?
If the costs continue to escalate as they have over the last five years, are the ratepayers expected to have to contribute up to $10m extra in addition to the $5m already pledged?
This would bring the total cost of the project to around $60m. Is it worth it and can we really afford a $60m art gallery when New Plymouth's new Len Lye Centre cost just over $11m for a brand new state-of-the-art gallery?
Once again, just like the wastewater treatment plant, we have a massive cost blow-out with, I suspect, more to come because the new cost estimate does not allow for "contingencies" and once again the council will borrow its way out of the mess to pay for it, leaving the ratepayers once more to foot the bill, a tough pill to swallow when we are already one of New Zealand's most indebted regions with higher than average annual rates.
Chairman, Whanganui Ratepayers Association
Of life and death
John Malcolm's view of suicide (Letters, June 27) is indistinguishable from that of the Baptist and other conservative Christian churches.
He is of course entitled to believe that when death is inevitable in the near future it is nevertheless morally unacceptable to foreshorten it to avoid suffering.
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The rest of us, however, take a different view. The dozens of people who chose to jump out of the burning towers at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, chose not to die but how to die – a near-instantaneous death rather than an agonising one by immolation.
Similarly, people dying of a terminal illness want the option of having medical help to avoid unnecessary suffering. To describe this as "aiding and abetting suicide" and "state-sanctioned killing" is, in the view of rational and humane people, nothing less than callous.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.