Nothing less than a rates reduction acceptable
I was disappointed and more than a little angry to see a letter in the paper this morning, purportedly from the ratepayers association, congratulating the council on limiting a rate increase to only 2.3 per cent.
This during a time of emergency when I suggest a significant number of Whanganui ratepayers and renters will be subject to a drastic income reduction, and almost all businesses not able to generate any income at all, and considerable stress towards meeting normal payments.
The message to the council should be considerably different. A 2.3 per cent increase in rates during a time of emergency simply does not cut it. It smacks of bureaucratic arrogance that the council should somehow warrant protection while everyone else is suffering.
The message to the council should be nothing less than a cut in rates is acceptable.
The local council's arrogance towards ratepayers has persisted for generations and must stop. In this time of emergency all council employees earning over $100,000 should be looking at a 20 per cent pay cut. All council expenditure must be cut to only critical functions.
If the council needs assistance to meet its obligations, it must in the first case cut its own tunic to fit, and then go to the Government, because the ratepayers simply don't have the capacity to continue to fund their attitude.
The mayor and councillors are on notice that at the next election, they will be asked how they supported their constituents during this crisis.
MP's point-scoring lacks common sense
Judging from her recent comment piece (Chronicle, April 24), Whanganui MP Harete Hipango brought her usual biases along with condescension and hyper-partisanship to bear on our country's campaign to stand together against Covid-19.
While most of us are acting with common resolve, either staying isolate, moving sparingly only of necessity, or working carefully at frontline jobs, Hipango will have none of that. With no evidence of her own, she disparages the PM's claim that "we went hard and went early".
The daily briefings by Jacinda Ardern to inform us of the current status, underlined by the data provided by Dr Ashley Bloomfield, evoke this snipe from Hipango, describing these measures of transparency and confidence building as "we were preached and speeched at in ministerial sermon".
Not content with simple negative distortion of what we could all judge on TV, Hipango adds name-calling to her gaslighting, referring to the PM disrespectfully as "Pied Piper". Admittedly, parsing some of Hipango's sentences is challenging. I'm still not sure how "we battle a virus of viral proportions" or how we fail to value life "against an invisible virus gone viral" or what she means when describing Parliament as "all in tow, unhesitatingly pro-life".
Unfortunately, I understand too well her denigrating the work of teachers whom she describes as being called to "babysitting duties at the Government's will".
Her piece, to quote her own words, sows "discord, confusion, and distrust" at a time when we, as a nation battling a pandemic, need, and are being encouraged in the opposite direction - of unity, clarity and trust.
Like any citizen, and certainly as an MP in the opposition party she has a right to criticise Government. But in this time of our need to stand as one, are her criticisms designed to improve our common situation or simply a reflection of a personal need to score points and hope for an electoral victory?
Keeping readers informed
Thank you Whanganui Chronicle, for your consistent service and reportage, and very early home delivery.
Awesome to have my paper delivered by 5am to accompany that first coffee. Especially valuable over these uncertain times.
CHANNA MIRIAM KNUCKEY
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