Earlier today the Taxpayer's Union were alerted to a slight problem with two statements contained in Wairoa's draft annual plan, currently open to public consultation.
In the introductory statement by the Mayor and Council CEO they claim that on average rates are increasing by 5.43%. But when we do the math, not based on the spin but on the financial numbers in the same paper, we come to a whopping 15.9%
So how do the two amounts reconcile? We wrote to the CEO to ask:
Here's the draft annual plan we quote. Note pages 1 and 91:
Late this afternoon we received a call from a Council official who reports to the CEO and had a frank conversation. Amazingly the official acknowledged what he termed as 'loose' wording by the CEO and Mayor. Apparently when the figure was originally reported to the Council it included a significant proviso that two new rates were not included.
The 5.43% figure does not include two new rates which relate to two waste water schemes. Once you include those the rates increase is nearly three times the percentage the Mayor and CEO were trumpeting.
We're calling on the Wairoa Council CEO, Fergus Power, and Mayor, Craig Little, to apologise to Wairoa ratepayers, and correct their misleading statements in the draft annual plan.
What do you think? Acceptable spin, or misleading the public? Comment on our Facebook page here.