Porirua City Council has recently concluded its public consultation phase of the 2018-38 long term plan.

The consultation was all about spending options, including buying strategic properties near Transmission Gully; developing a new ‘front door’ to Porirua in the eastern ward with a community hub; introducing paid parking in the Porirua CBD, initiating a recycling subsidy for schools, building new harbour edge pathway along Titahi Bay Rd, and establishing second dog park at a preferred location.

Typically, PCC ratepayers are quite cynical about PCC consultation. Their collective experience is that PCC seldom takes any notice of the consultation suggestions, and proceeds with its plan as originally proposed. “Why bother” is a typical response. “We spend a lot of time and effort putting together our submission and nobody takes any notice.” is an oft heard remark.

However, open a discussion about rates, and then the whole community is concerned. The Whitby Residents Association, along with many Whitby people individually, made submissions about the affordability of rates, and the proposed 5.2 percent compound ding increases over the next four years, as PCC moves to balance its budget.

Nowhere in the consultation document was there any mention of reducing spending to hold or reduce rates, which is a real concern in our communities. Substantial spending on iInfrastructure renewal for water and sewerage pipes and reservoirs are due to non maintenance by previous councils. That is now costly but a fact of life.

But instead of proposing a range of extra spending over the next decade, and expecting 5.2 percent rate increases compounding for the next four years to pay for it, shouldn’t PCC be looking at the other side of their ledger and trying to hold operational costs, reduce expenditure on non essentials and deliver good financial management to balance their books – not relying on continual rate increases to do that.

Consultation closed on April 23. Whitby Residents Association make their submission which is displayed on this website on the “submissions” page. Despite the cynicism, WRA did encourage residents and ratepayers to make their own submissions, and to do this, an online facility was provided, or residents could simply submit a letter or document of their own.

We have to take advantage of these feedback opportunities. If you don’t respond with feedback now you shouldn’t really complain in the future when the compounding 20 percent rates increase burns your pocket.

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