Sharing the Covid 19 burden
So very disappointing to see in bold print (Letters, May 2) an opinion by Whanganui District councillor Josh Chandulal-Mackay that it "makes sense" for future generations to share the cost burden from this Covid-19 crisis. More like nonsense. The Coalition Government's indecent haste borrowing over $52 billion on the debt markets exposes its failure (refusal?) to recognise the powers of its own sovereign bank to credit-fund essential spending.
How ironic that our council building in Guyton St was in "lockdown" for months on end while the foyer was refurbished using Maori motifs. To attend a public meeting means entering through a door decorated in beautiful taniko weaving and carving. Yet what an insult to Te Ao Maori which believes in a gift economy where today's taonga is a heritage for our mokopuna, not a source of wealth for foreign investors.
The current long-term plan reveals an ongoing interest rate of 5.5 per cent, with debt-servicing estimated at $6.6 million for the next financial year. Imagine that amount left in our local economy. Josh assures us that any current budget shortfall is covered by council's debt programme. No mention as to whom this debt is owed. Instead of explaining his support for the latest rates increase, it would have been a brave move for Josh and others to assert council's democratic right to access RBNZ credit-funding.
HEATHER MARION SMITH
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Time to move on
I have to compliment the Labour Government on their handling of the pandemic. They have managed well, been decisive but now it's time to move on. The algorithms that projected the worst possible outcomes were obviously wrong but presumed worst-case and the Government was incompetent and would do nothing in time.
It's almost inevitable that there will still outbreaks of this disease but these should now be manageable. The key for most of us is not to get sick, and it is to stop people dying. We need to do better protecting the very elderly who live in care homes, assisted living facilities, and those already ill from other causes. These are where most of the deaths have happened and give cause for hope till a vaccine arrives.
What does it mean for us if we release some of these restrictions, as we still haven't faced the next three big challenges:
1) We still have the annual flu plague coming this year.
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2) We who have businesses which send products to the furthest corners of the world and on which Whanganui jobs depend have absolutely no way to know the medium to long-term consequences of this virus in other economies. Some seriously bad possibilities have to be assumed and will flow back to less wealth creation in Whanganui.
3) There is a price to pay for all this government expenditure. However worthy these expenditures are right now, taxation rates will increase and life is unlikely to be the same for a very long time. Then, now that we are partly acclimatised to adversity, what the climate activists are planning to lower emissions further is a real worry.
Mayor and District Councillors, it's time that you talked seriously to your political friends in Wellington and at least get the region of Whanganui District Council back to a Level 2.5 city bubble and soon afterwards to Level 1. Otherwise, the consequences for employment are likely to be even more dire.