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TCDC Spring Edition 

The propaganda onslaught continued today with the publication of the Coromandel Spring Edition.

This glossy says it all (and more!) about the new administration. It is clear from the wording of David Hammond's opening statement where he appears to imply that he regards himself as part of the new Council - it certainly blurs the lines between the Executive and Governance - a blurring he may live to regret. You cannot take this stance without wearing the consequences of all governance decisions. This is something that Steve Ruru would never have done - he was far too canny and knowledgeable to be caught out in that headlight - he even claimed that the famous (notorious!) 2002-5 wastewater decisions were those of Council alone. We know better of course. 

The heavy emphasis on area control and development, and economic development generally has a great deal to commend it, but without results from the "tilling of the ground, and sowing of the seeds", those associated with the moves stand to look a little silly when the ground proves barren. The internal upheavals have resulted in a fetid atmosphere ("I am just here to do a job!") within the four walls of the Castle, and I suspect that Mr Hammond may find a substantial element of resentful resistance to his (and Glenn's!) grand plans. The two are locked at the hips and success will reflect well on both. But on the other hand ...........!

One aspect of the claims made in the Press Release regarding the proposed reduction in borrowing of some $58m over the life of the Ten Year Plan has to be questioned. The actual increase over the first three years is actually $30m - any subsequent decrease is pure 'pie in the sky', as anyone who has anything to do with this form of planning will be aware. Removal and reduction of planned capital and renewal works later on in the TYP accounts for almost the entire of 'sleight of hand' surrounding the borrowing figures.

For instance, the arbitrary reduction in the amount provided for the replacement of the Thames Pool from $15m to $5m is but one of the many changes adopted to achieve unrealistic savings well beyond the term of the present Council. Blind Ned is aware that the cost of replacing the Thames Pool was probably light even at $15m. This is the kind of manipulation that destroys credibility, and there are dozens of other examples. Every ratepayer should concentrate on the $30m increase over the next three years that serves the purpose of making councillors look good electorally by holding down rates artificially, and at the same time achieving the spectatular as exemplified by the Whitianga upgrade. 

I often wonder just who is fooling who, and how anyone can be decieived by rate reductions, while expenditure is actually increasing. It is an age old ploy long used by councils with questionable integrity, if not downright dishonesty. It is a great shame that we have come to this. Take everything you read from this Council from now on with grain of salt - it is now the province of the public relations mavens, and purveyors of glossy "good news stories."





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