Lunch could be off the table for council

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 12:14 11/12/2013

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Kapiti Observer

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Kapiti's leaders may have to bring packed lunches to meetings as the council takes a razor to spending.

As part of a cost-cutting exercise councillors vote tomorrow whether to continue free, catered lunches for themselves. A report to councillors said lunches are provided because meetings often run longer than three hours.

''A saving of approximately $8600 per annum could be achieved if catering for the council and its three standing committees was cut completely.''

Kapiti's mayor and councillors provide governance for a council that takes in about $48 million in rates - but faces a debt of about $147m this financial year.

Under a ''self-catering'' option, councillors would provide their own lunches - but there about $500 might be spent on kitchen equipment such as a toasted-sandwich maker or ''kitchen whizz for smoothies''. 

The other downsides of this option would be the likelihood that lunchtimes, about 30 minutes, would need to run longer. This would allow sufficient time for all elected members to buy or plate-up and eat their own lunches.

The report said lunchtimes can be ''ideal networking opportunities'' and these would be disrupted by food preparation. 

Meanwhile, the report lays out two other options for councillors - user-pays catering or reduced choice on the menu.

Currently a typical lunch would include a sandwich or filled roll, a hot savoury item, salad and sweet item, the report said.

The council could shave about $3000 per-head from its lunch bill by reducing menu options, and providing just a filled roll and fruit platter.

Kapiti business Creme Cuisine had its contract for catering work extended till June 2014 after positive councillor feedback, the report said.

''Should council decide to change the current arrangements the contract with Creme Cuisine can be terminated with one week's written notice.''

The report points out the councillors can also decide to ''maintain the status quo'' and keep free catered lunches.

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