Council costs take the cake

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Queenstown’s council is the stingiest in the southern region when it comes to splashing out on catering.

Figures released to the Taxpayers Union show the 10 councils throughout Otago and Southland spent a grand total of $541,271.20 on catering, entertainment and gifts in 2017.

Queenstown was by far one of the most frugal, spending $17,780.34 – $7602.33 on catering, $2792.80 on gifts, and $7385.21 on entertainment.

Council comms advisor Campbell Weal says that’s “within budget and in line with our sensitive expenditure policy so there is no plan to change current practice”.

“Catering costs include citizenship ceremonies, and council and community board meetings; entertainment is mainly staff Christmas functions at $25 per person; gift expenditure relate to events such as staff departures and bereavements.”

At the other end of the spending scale is the Dunedin City Council (DCC).

It spent a whopping $162,280 on catering, $31,634 on gifts, and $4753 on entertainment.

It didn’t respond by Mountain Scene deadline.

Taxpayers Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says the DCC could “get some tips on frugality from Queenstown”.

“Queenstown Lakes District Council’s ‘indulgence spending’ is among the country’s lowest, despite being an averagely-populated council.

“Queenstown ratepayers can take some comfort knowing their council isn’t going overboard on ratepayer-funded banquets.”

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz