Getting moving with a cut

The key issue for Taranaki as a region is declining share of taxation dollars based on population, reducing our share of resources for infrastructure, education and healthcare. As a chamber we are advocating for a funding allocation based on our contribution to the economy, not just population.

We see a cohesive regionwide strategy for local government as being a key element in representing our strengths at a national level. For the business community that starts with innovation at a local level and we are pleased that the dialogue around shared services, a regional approach, sustainability and perhaps even a single authority is now being debated.

Cr Peter Johnson's ''tell us what services you want us to cut'' (letters, Feb 23) can never be answered without detailed information on payroll, headcount, detailed expense and analysis which is never provided in the public domain.

However, a quick look at the four councils' annual reports for 2011-12 shows total salaries rising from $55 million (2010-11) to $62m or by 12.6 per cent. A simple pay freeze would have saved the ratepayers $7m, a 5 per cent reduction in staff costs around $9.7m. In the commercial world reduction in staff levels and salaries do reduce costs.

A third reduction in elected representatives would save half a million.

It is good to see that Cr Johnson agrees that the current model is unsustainable and we look forward to working with Peter to move the region forward.


Vice-chairman Taranaki Chamber of Commerce

Taranaki Daily News