‘Not comparing apples with apples’

Tables produced by the Taxpayers Union on Gisborne District Council rates are not a fair comparison, says GDC chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann.

She was commenting on the tables released by the Taxpayers Union, which show Gisborne has less debt than any other unitary authority but the third- highest average residential rates of any local authority.

“As per last year, when the Taxpayer Union tables were released, there are so many other factors and variations that make up the numbers, so they are not comparing apples with apples,” she said.

“Similar to last year, staffing numbers again are questionable, given the variety of services provided across unitary councils.

“While I take management of poor performance seriously, I do not know how they came up with the figure of four staff who were purportedly ‘dismissed’.

“Performance matters are sensitive and some are legally privileged.

“Ratepayers should be able to compare councils to ensure they are getting best value for money – but it should be based on accurate and contextualised data.

“Our council carried out a robust consultative process to ensure we are delivering what the community has asked us to. We have some critical infrastructure projects ahead of us on the back of a legacy of low rates.

“I believe we are managing our finances prudently, while recognising affordability is a key challenge for our district.

“We have also been successful in acquiring an unprecedented amount of central government funding to further support levels of service for our district in roading and community infrastructure — all of which is not provided for in the Taxpayer Union’s league table,” said Ms Thatcher-Swann.

Tables produced by the Taxpayers Union on Gisborne District Council rates are not a fair comparison, says GDC chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann.

She was commenting on the tables released by the Taxpayers Union, which show Gisborne has less debt than any other unitary authority but the third- highest average residential rates of any local authority.

“As per last year, when the Taxpayer Union tables were released, there are so many other factors and variations that make up the numbers, so they are not comparing apples with apples,” she said.

“Similar to last year, staffing numbers again are questionable, given the variety of services provided across unitary councils.

“While I take management of poor performance seriously, I do not know how they came up with the figure of four staff who were purportedly ‘dismissed’.

“Performance matters are sensitive and some are legally privileged.

“Ratepayers should be able to compare councils to ensure they are getting best value for money – but it should be based on accurate and contextualised data.

“Our council carried out a robust consultative process to ensure we are delivering what the community has asked us to. We have some critical infrastructure projects ahead of us on the back of a legacy of low rates.

“I believe we are managing our finances prudently, while recognising affordability is a key challenge for our district.

“We have also been successful in acquiring an unprecedented amount of central government funding to further support levels of service for our district in roading and community infrastructure — all of which is not provided for in the Taxpayer Union’s league table,” said Ms Thatcher-Swann.

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