Rotorua ratepayers not being told all the facts about proposed cuts to services and jobs

Wednesday 10 May 2023, 10:14AM




Cuts to critical community education and environmental services and jobs are being glossed over in Rotorua District Council’s public consultation according to the union representing many council workers.

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi is urging people in Rotorua to take heed of the proposed cuts before consultation on the draft plan ends on Friday.

Among various proposals to reduce rates increases, the council is proposing to axe four jobs in the museum education services programme and one job in the waste minimisation area.

"The public consultation fails to spell out that these important services are under threat and the public has a right to know so they can provide informed feedback," said PSA Organiser Kirstin Miller.

"Rotorua is a place rich in the history and culture of mana whenua and the museum education services have been helping more than 6000 local school children every year understand this critical part of the town’s fabric.

"The programme provides access to the Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa/Rotorua Museum collections of over 45,000 items - this is not something that can easily be replaced, and the public should know the impact of four jobs being lost in this key area.

"There is no guarantee these roles will be funded by the Ministry of Education and that is not made clear in the consultation. Why put this important service at risk, possibly damage the council’s relationship with mana whenua, particularly when there is a council priority of ‘enhanced community well-being for all: urban and rural, young, old, Maori and non-Maori.’?

"It’s also shocking for a town whose clean, green image, is a vital part of its appeal to tourists, that it’s proposing to downgrade its waste minimisation services with the loss of one job.

"The role is actually funded by the Ministry for the Environment by the waste levy, so the cost saving is questionable. It’s a valuable role in helping the public understand the importance of reducing waste going to the landfill and will also be important in educating the public on the upcoming kerbside organic waste collection programme.

"If anything, the council should be investing more in these services at a time when climate change is upon us.

"The PSA urges the public to take advantage of the few days left for feedback on the draft plan to let the council know that axing these and other vital services to cut the rates bill by a few percentage points is short sighted.

"We also feel for the workers impacted who are facing great uncertainty.

"The proposals will only end up harming the wellbeing of the community and the protection of our beautiful natural environment," said Kirstin Miller.