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Rates, and buses: fake news?

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Fake news in Wellington? Some readers have been pointing out discrepancies.

We headlined the press release when the Hutt City Council announced a rates increase of 1.5 per cent.

But then Citizen Joe looked deep into council documents and told us:

Excuse me, but the increase for residential properties is 3.28% to 4.01% looking at Lower Hutt’s own document (and not 1.5%). On page 19 it says:

“You may have noticed the indicative rates increase for a residential property with a capital value of $200,000 is 4.01% compared to 3.28% for an average residential property with a higher capital value of $472,130. This is because any property, regardless of their valuation, pay the same fixed rates, before the general rate in the dollar is applied to property values”.

The Hutt City Council has said nothing in its defense since we published this.

Then there are the conflicting and conflicted claims about Wellington´s new bus fleet.

Tranzit has been talking about an all electric fleet by 2021, but according to Chris Laidlaw it seems we’ll have only 32 of them by that date, not even as many as when we were a trolley bus city.

“We’ve set ourselves the target of a 100% electric bus fleet and the first stop on our way is 10 new double deckers this year and 32 by 2021. We have to be ambitious because transport emissions are a significant contributor to climate change.¨

A target with no target date.

Tranzit has also been claiming that it is launching New Zealand´s first fully electric bus fleet.

Which has brought a quick response from just about everyone. Ten electric vehicles in a total fleet of 234 buses. What were they thinking?

There´s even more confusion from officialdom. In the DomPost, Chris Laidlaw was quoted as being excited:

I’m excited by electric buses being deployed for the first time in New Zealand. I’m excited by our ability to be able to finally deal with some of the climate change and emission challenges that are in front of us.”

To which trolley bus expert Alan Wickens has responded:

Need to read that again? Yes, Mr Laidlaw is “excited” by electric buses being deployed for the first time in New Zealand. How can he inspire confidence when he doesn’t even recognize the historical contribution of electric buses that were deployed in the Capital for sixty-eight years, let alone the eight years the “trackless” ran from 1924-32, and even omitting the sixty years’ contribution made by the trams?