A smile goes a long way

With everyone told to stay home except those whose work is deemed essential, we should all be very thankful for those who are doing that essential work on our behalf. We should all be treating such people respectfully and be grateful that they are putting themselves out on our behalf.
So when, for example, you have a concern about an apparent price jump in a product at a supermarket, respectfully raise the question and listen to the response. In this stressful time, a smile and a bit of respect go a long way. So does a bit of patience and finding out the facts rather than jumping to conclusions. But for those who are not mature enough to treat others with respect, I would suggest the answer might be a little fear instead. Fear of what they would be able to do if those wonderful people working in essential areas simply refuse to work for them.
K A BENFELL
Gonville

Great column

Awesome column from Dani Lebo on raising children, first and foremost, with resilience. Hearty to know some families embrace this kaupapa. I raised my three children (alone) with similar values, and they have become outstanding adults with can-do attitudes and great resilience. Awesome whanau Lebo.
CHANNA MIRIAM KNUCKEY
Gonville

Freeze rates

The Wanganui Ratepayers' Association (WRA) fully endorses the New Zealand Taxpayers Union's initiative that calls on all local body councils to do their bit for economic relief by implementing a freeze on rates. The union has written to all local council mayors asking for the freeze to apply to the new financial year 2020/2021. The WRA petitions the Whanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council to ratify this initiative in the interests of the people of Whanganui.
Already the Waikato Regional Council has released a statement saying: "Our councillors have agreed to aim for a no rates increase for the 2020 / 2021 financial year, to help lighten the impact of the Government's response to Covid-19". At the time of writing, at least four other councils have agreed to consider the freeze or at least cut back the scheduled rates hikes.

Can it be done without reducing core council services? The WRA agrees that it can through considering individual spend or budget on a "want and need" analysis. Maybe a temporary reduction or halt of those major "want" spends plus a halt on employing any additional council-funded staff and salary freeze would be a wise starting point. A freeze will not put the brakes on the local economy - rates are bluntly levied on rateable values. This means that people on lower incomes pay a larger proportion of their earnings on rates than higher earners. Whanganui has a higher proportion than average in the country that falls into this lower socio-economic category. A freeze will reduce hardship and put a few dollars more in the pockets of those lower earners who are likely to spend any extra income in our local community.
DAVE HILL
Whanganui

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