I said I was going to address RDMW Chair Andrew Hory’s letter to the editor this week, and as a man of my word, here I am, shooting straight from the hip.
Let’s start with my article lacking context.
Andrew, I think taxpayers who read our newspaper are very aware it’s their local government who makes their sewer systems work properly.
I like to think I know exactly where my tax dollars are going, and I’d bet the majority of taxpayers on the North Island have a good idea as well, and it’s mainly thanks to the North Island Gazette. All you have to do is read our paper, either online or in print. Our staff covers every council/RDMW meeting we possibly can. We work hard to keep our readership up to date on important town business.
Now, let’s talk numbers and facts.
It should be fairly obvious public service in small towns is a tough job with long hours and low wages.
There’s no career politicians here, just people who want to see a better future for the communities they live in. I admire anyone who does public service on the North Island, especially if they’re raising a young family while doing it.
That said, I think North Island residents have been kept in the dark about the amount of money local government and its staff get paid, which is exactly why I felt it was pertinent to write the article the way I did.
Residents should know how much taxpayer money local governments keep for themselves, and also to whom that money is going.
That’s why financial numbers get released every year, to make sure there is transparency between government and the residents who live in the area.
My intent behind the article was to show Gazette readers the financial statements and let them reach their own decision on whether local government’s pay is too high, or too low.
Bottom line, journalism is about leaving your opinions at home and just letting the facts and numbers speak for themselves.
Finally, instead of contacting Andrew directly with your thoughts on government pay, send me a letter to the editor regarding the subject and I’ll publish it. Let’s see how much public debate we can get going on here inside the pages of the good ol’ North Island Gazette.
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