Real people matter - Northern Advocate - 9th June 2010

The ‘Shock at huge rates rise’ business article on Monday 7th came as no surprise to me as were the flippant comments “It’s clear that some ratepayers are unhappy with their valuations but we can’t afford a kneejerk reaction”.  What an attitude…..tell that to the people who may find themselves redundant in these hard times, due to retrenchment through excessive cost increases.  I am fairly aware there were some rumblings from many business owners, after receiving numerous calls when it was knowledge I intended to stand for mayoralty this October. Many in the business sector felt that in times of a recession the council had increased costs in many of their  lease agreements making some untenable.  It was Quotable Value NZ that increased the valuations, but surely council should have been more prudent with the methodology in fixing the rates.  In my opinion the increases in the article definitely look unrealistic in these times.  One must ask, does council want these businesses to vacate Whangarei?  Let’s hope we have less vacant buildings, than at present, while internationally visible during the World cup.  In the past I had made it obvious I was unhappy at the increased lack of consultation from council to the most important assets in our community, the people.  Yes, from minimal if any communication to retailers in our C.B.D. when a big box complex was envisaged, cutting down heritage trees in our parks and down to lack of communication when closing roads temporarily or changing parking outside residents homes.  It is often perceived that council don’t care about the people but continue to screw every last dollar out of them which is not good for our community. Let’ hope we see some change in October and enlist only people who genuinely care about their peers.  It’s the real people that matter, enough is enough.

Warren Slater