The Editor’s reply (ODT 23.1.13):
Russell Garbutt: Thanks for your comments but we don’t agree with them.
From: Russell and Bev Garbutt
Sent: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 10:46 a.m.
Subject: Letter for publication
[Contact details deleted. -Eds]
Otago Daily Times
Your editorial on the urgent need for an austerity budget for Dunedin is too little too late.
For years now at Council Plan consultation meetings also attended by your reporters, the financial stupidity of the Council’s decisions have been graphically pointed out by a long line of submitters. The practice of Council owned companies being forced to borrow to pay dividends which you now describe as being “worse than poor” was emphasised by a large number of submitters, but largely ignored by the ODT for many years.
While ultimately all of the spending decisions made by the Council are those of the Councillors – many clearly out of their depth – the weight of public opinion assisted by informed and investigative stories by the City’s only daily paper, has no small part to play in what has happened in this town over recent years. It is hard to see why the ODT has failed to meet its obligations or role in this regard. Many believe that it is because the ODT is a strong supporter of the stadium which has caused a major part of this debt, and of its proponents and major user.
While the ODT has adopted a position of supporting the new rugby stadium, even now that the full costs of the stadium are more or less known, your position is that you appear to be supporting the establishment of a significant fund to subsidise the use of the stadium – despite your reluctant acknowledgement that while the fund will cost the ratepayers dearly, there is no believable data that shows any tangible benefit.
I look forward to the ODT being part of the process in holding those that have made the decisions that have put Dunedin into these astronomical levels of debt responsible and accountable – but I’m not holding my breath.
Read Russell’s comments in reply here.
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