Council halves lunch budget

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 12:53 12/12/2013

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Kapiti's leaders have decided to halve their catering bill for meeting lunches, ditching a recommendation they provide their own packed lunches.

Kapiti Coast District Council voted 7-3 today in favour of halving its catering budget from about $8600 to about $4300.

Mayor Ross Church and councillors K. Gurunathan and Gavin Welsh voted against the move.

Mr Gurunathan, who supported councillors providing their own lunches, said the issue was not about free lunches, it was about taking a hard-nosed look at the economy and show the community the council was happy to tighten up.

"We should send a clear message we can stomach it, even if it is distasteful," he said.

Councillor Janet Holborow disagreed.

"It is about lunches. Lunches enable us to do the work we do, enable us to made good decisions, help us work effectively," she said.

Councillor Tony Lloyd was concerned about the effect on the caterers' business while Waikanae community board chairman Michael Scott slammed ditching lunches as "tokenism."

"If you look at your budget, this is a tiny blip ... if you look at your budget and spending level, this is the worst time for tokenism - rather than getting kudos from the community, people are likely to think "oh really?"

"There is a level of recharging and re-energising needed to do a good job. This is a token gesture," Mr Scott said.

Councillor Penny Gaylor agreed with him, citing a recent meeting running from 8am to 6pm.

"They are modest lunches, not Chinese banquets," she said.

Mr Welsh said he was prepared to put his hand in his pocket and pay for his lunch himself.

Councillor Murray Bell tabled the motion to halve the catering bill which was adopted.

Prior to the meeting Mr Church said he was quite happy paying for his own lunch but would prefer still catering for some meetings where there were invited guests. 

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- The Dominion Post

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