Kapi-Mana News : September 6th 2011
8 KAPI-MANA NEWS, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011 OPINION EKERS' WEEK LETTERS LETTERS GUIDE The Kapi-Mana News welcomes letters from readers. Letters will be published at the editor's discretion. Please keep correspondence to 250 words or less. We reserve the right to edit for brevity and sense. Pen names are not acceptable. If you feel there is a good reason you can't put your name to your letter, phone the editor. For identification not publication, please include an address not a box number and if possible a daytime phone number. Send letters to The Editor, PO Box 50 012, Porirua, phone 237 8118, or email email@example.com. Truth be told Editor, It is thanks to the Dominion Post article August 22 that we in Porirua at last have learnt some of the truth about our investment in Smartlinx3. The new chief executive informed the Dom Post that the company, which has taken over $3 million of public money, had a couple of hundred customers (that s a $15,000 subsidy to each customer), that there wasn t a sale on the network in the past 12 months; that there was no business plan for the board to check up on and that they had public funds so no real pressure to generate money . Clearly neither our salaried nor elected representatives deserve to spend our money on such enterprises. However, it is not surprising that our council has continued to put our money in this venture, or that our CEO lauds Smartlinx s performance (January press release). After all, it is public money so its loss doesn t really affect our salaried and elected representatives personal income streams. What seems important to these people is that no one rock the boat or be performance managed. Why else would a decision have been taken to invite a new shareholder into the company but there be no committee record on the council website to record that the Smartlinx committee has even met since April 29, 2010 (with that meeting lasting just three minutes and being totally secret)? When will our mayor (who was, said his supporters last election, able to hit the ground running) demand from the chief executive and himself the level of performance that people in the private sector on similar salaries must deliver? BRIAN COLLINS, Papakowhai. The wisdom in it Editor, I found that Gordon Campbell s column (Talking Politics, August 23) took a rather uninformed and perhaps a one-sided stance on the government s proposed changes to welfare payments. He would be correct in saying that currently the proposed changes do target the younger welfare beneficiaries, but he fails to discuss why this is. The beneficiaries in the 16-18 age bracket are at a higher risk of developing long-term welfare dependency as these are the years they should be actively gaining skills and building a portfolio of work experience. If those years are spent on a benefit instead of working or in training, then they are likely to find it even more difficult to find employment as they get older. So these age groups are being targeted before a long-term problem is developed, which will have a positive effect on beneficiary numbers from all age brackets in the future. While I do agree with his arguments that the best way of getting people off welfare is in a way that encourages job creation, he does seem to lack insight into the ways in which government schemes are already doing so. Work and Income have work brokers who build relationships with employers in their community, and those employers do receive wage and training subsidies provided they employ the referred former beneficiaries for at least 30 hours per week for a minimum six-month period. These subsidies are primarily provided for those that hire former beneficiaries that are in the 16-18 age bracket or are classified as low skilled. It is also being proposed that any cuts from the proposed welfare changes will be reallocated to wage and training subsidy budgets. If this isn t fostering policies of full employment then what is? E WATERS, Porirua. No merger Your headline Whitireia merger ...(KMN, August 23) is misleading. I attended the meeting chaired by National MP Roger Sowry and the gist of the discussion revolved around how Whitireia and Petone Weltec could work in partnership by sharing expertise and tutoring skills for the benefit of their students. There was no discussion on merging the two institutions. Rather, each would retain their own autonomy but at the same time initiate operational changes that would enhance opportunities for students to access courses offered by both polytechnics. This makes good sense providing that there is no extra cost to students. For example, if a sufficient number of students in Porirua wish to take a course offered only by Weltec, then the tutor from that institution would travel to Porirua to deliver the course. The advantages for both the students and the institutions are obvious. DICK GRACE, Plimmerton. Always consult Editor, I refer to the headline article Whitireia merger...[KMN, August 23]. I applaud the sentiments of PCC wanting to see courses, staff and facilities retained in Porirua, but I also think Whitireia and WelTec are taking prudent steps to ensure both organisations survive, and fee costs remain affordable. Cost control, efficiency and affordability, are concepts apparently not yet grasped by our mayor, councillors and senior management team. PCC chief executive Gary Simpson is quoted as having said they are still in the dark about many details . . . . Gary, welcome to our world. That s exactly how ratepayers feel about PCC decision making. The council s senior economic development advisor (I wonder what the salary package, key result areas, and achievements for the last three years are for this position?) said council was not offered the opportunity to make an oral submission and ...a decision should not be made without proper public consultation . Hang on a minute. PCC expects a high level of public consultation from Whitireia, but doesn t extend the same to its own ratepayers. Instead of complaining about others, how about genuine consultation and transparency for budgets and projects like property purchases, city centre re- development, the performing arts centre and new head office, and no secret Smartlinx meetings. Or do you mean you want Whitireia to consult, like PCC did with ratepayers in respect to Te Rauparaha? Or for yet another million dollar reserve in Plimmerton? ANDREW WELLUM, Camborne. True Christians Editor, It was so good to see the article about Lloyd Martin s book, and something of his work, in your issue of August 23. I hope the book Small Stories sells well, and I hope everyone here reads it, because this man has been working for the young people of eastern Porirua for longer than anyone else I know -- unless it is Peggy Humphreys, who with Lloyd, as members of the Porirua Gospel Chapel, have been caring about and giving themselves in work with at-risk youth since the mid 1970s. Unknown to most of the public, and largely unheralded by the media, they have shown a true Christian humbleness of spirit, love without judgement and without strings attached, and must have touched hundreds of lives. Mentoring of that kind -- just another decent adult who cares enough to get alongside, who lives locally, and who sticks with you, does more to see young people through the fraught teen years than any other solution do- gooders have proposed. I first knew Lloyd when he was running Youth Guidance programmes (a Youth for Christ service for troubled teens) in 1978 and 1979. Since then the Gospel Chapel buildings have been used frequently as a place youth can meet -- often to the cost of wear and tear -- but more important, the Gospel Chapel people must have given Lloyd and Peggy their full, patient, and generous support, as no-one can do that sort of work for long without genuine back-up and personal assistance from others who share the vision and understand the need. If the city has not yet honoured these two, or recognised the role of the chapel in our community in some tangible way, this would be the time to do it -- though they are both so down to earth and modest, they might well say no, we just do it for the kids -- and for God . SYLVIA L JENKIN, Porirua. Nay to horses Editor, As a resident of Moki St which, as you may know, is only a few hundred yards from the disputed territory of Stuart Park, I wondered how the Porirua council came to the decision to refuse access to the local riding club who have been using this area for the past 30 years for grazing and allow instead access to a few dog owners? My wife and I have always received a friendly word and a wave from members as they ride or lead their horses past our house. And what a delight to see those very young members riding their ponies with their faces a picture of determination to be like mum. A lovely tranquil pastoral scene for old retired folk like us. We assume the new owners of this council land will be as conscientious as the riding club have been in keeping the park clear of that obnoxious gorse that threatens to overtake the green space. Or will the council have to find the funds and labour to keep it clear? There are ample acres of open scrubland for their dogs to run riot opposite Stuart Park where they can do their business without turning Stuart Park into a doggie toilet! MIKE POVEY, Titahi Bay.
August 30th 2011
September 13th 2011