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Damn right we can’t let it happen again

Opinion Piece

On October 2 Margaret Thorpe acknowledged my response and that of Tony Robinson to her earlier questions regarding the council’s extraordinary debt levels. On October 3, Rehette Stoltz replied under the heading: “We need to get back to what is expected of us.”

I say, it was Mrs Stoltz and co that took us there!

She pleads financial responsibility but was on the council for nine years, six as Deputy Mayor, and was complicit in the financial mess. Both Meredith Akuhata-Brown and her voted against pausing the process leading to the demolition of the old council chambers to obtain a price to repair — something the council never did!

Where was Mrs Stoltz’s “critical financial eye” during the last nine years? Shut?

Secondly, Mrs Stoltz does not explicitly address the projected increased debt level of $105 million, nor explain how the ratepayers of Tairawhiti are going to be able to service it. I have done this during my campaign for the mayoralty.

The most telling line in Mrs Stoltz’s explanation is contained in her final paragraph where she seems to seek to absolve herself from what happened under her watch, when she writes:

“As you point out, past election promises that kept rates rises at 2 percent meant that some maintenance was deferred and the council’s financial reserves were stripped. We cannot let that happen again.”

Damn right we cannot let it happen again. It is time to change who was in control!

My campaign slogan has consistently been “It’s time for a change”. I’m delighted that Mrs Stoltz has come to the same conclusion.

Ross Meurant

Mayoral candidate