Lively discussions have been taking place among a group of Whakatāne ratepayers dissatisfied with decisions being made by Whakatāne District Council.
One of the organisers of Whakatāne’s fledgling ratepayers association, Suzanne Williams, says there is no shortage of enthusiasm among members.
“There’s such enthusiasm, the only problem is with holding people down. They’ve had to be reminded that it’s not a war.”
Two meetings among those wishing to start the group have so far been held, and an inaugural public meeting is being planned for early July.
An initial meeting earlier this month was initiated by Suzanne and Raewyn Kingsley-Smith and attended by 18 others who were dissatisfied with decisions being made by the Whakatāne District Council around several matters.
The meeting identified five main issues that most concerned the people at the meeting.
These were the lack of public consultation on the proposed marina, Te Rāhui Herenga Waka, the need for a new bridge for the town, Whakatāne having the third highest rates in New Zealand, wasteful spending by the council, including the $13 million refurbishment of the council building and a perceived incompetency among councillors and staff.
Suzanne says all those who attended noted their concern on these matters.
One member said since they had moved to the district six years ago the rates on her property had risen over from $750 a quarter to $1009. “And they’re going up again.”
“There was a bit of discussion about it being the tail wagging the dog and it was the staff driving the decisions rather than the councillors.”
On Thursday last week, a further meeting was held at Te Koputu, Whakatāne's library and exhibition centre, to elect an interim committee of eight. Dave Wakefield, of Wakefield Mobility was elected as interim chairman and Mrs Williams as secretary-treasurer.
An email has been set up, email@example.com and the group would also like to set up a website.
A public meeting will be held on July 7, starting at 11.30pm, at Knox Presbyterian Church in Domain Road.
Anyone is welcome to attend and those wishing to know more about the association can contact Suzanne on 07 3080945.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.