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Councils cut down on their catering costs – no free lunch

Apr 18th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

CITY COUNCILS in the Wellington region are changing their approach to feeding their staff.

This is reflected in the declining amounts spent on catering for councillors.

At Porirua City Council, trends indicate that the amount being spent on catering and alcohol is decreasing.

In the 2010/11 financial year, $105,447 was spent on catering within the  Porirua council, with $8028 spent on alcohol. And in 2011/12, Porirua council spent $99,727 on catering with $3795 spent on alcohol.

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett, right, has said his council sliced up to 5 per cent from its operating budgets in the last year as the result of being told by the community that more must be invested in assets and long-term projects.

Wellington City Council recently decided there will be no more free lunches provided for councillors while in committee meetings, which brought savings of $40,000.

Wellington city councillor Andy Foster, below, had moved that the council cuts the amount spent on catering for committee meetings from $46,500 to $6500, saying that he struggled with the idea that lunch needed to be provided for council members to do their job.

Some of Mr Foster’s fellow councillors were critical of this decision. They were concerned that a half-hour lunch break would not be a long enough time to go out to get lunch and return back in time for meetings.

Seven Wellington councillors voted in favour of chopping this particular catering budget while five councillors were still wanting a free lunch.

In Lower Hutt, at Hutt City Council, for the year ended 30 June 2012, the total cost of catering (including alcohol) for councillors was $20,353.

There was no breakdown of exactly how much of that was on alcohol alone, however, of the $20,353, $1624 was paid to alcohol outlets. This figure of  $1624  includes soft drinks and fruit juice.

During the same period, Upper Hutt City Council spent $11,339 on catering for council meetings, hearings and workshops.

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