Times so tough MPs have had their access to room service cut.
A Parliamentary Service's cost-cutting review has reduced the hours of Parliament's Bellamy's dining room, and Pickwick's Bar, and cut room service hours to between 7am and 4.30pm - but only when the House is not sitting, about 22 weeks a year when most MPs are not in Wellington anyway. MPs too busy to visit Parliament's cafes on the first floor of the Beehive and across the road at Bowen House will still be able to have their dinner delivered between 7am and 8.30pm when the House is sitting.
The changes come after Speaker Lockwood Smith said Parliamentary Service was staring down the barrel of a $25 million deficit. Savings have already been made, with more than 30 jobs cut, including security personnel and messengers.
Parliamentary Service general manager Geoff Thorn said the catering changes would not cost jobs, but some staff would be 'redeployed'.
Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer said if cuts were needed, room service could be done away with easily, especially when the main parliamentary cafe, Copperfields, was only minutes from most offices.
"In all my years there I used room service a couple of times when I was sick. It's not necessary. Perhaps some ministers who are working away in the dead of night might need it, but what hardship is it to pop downstairs?"
She said closing Bellamy's during recess was long overdue, given that when the House was not sitting, it was often empty.
"The public must wonder why we are staffing these restaurants when bugger-all people using them."
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said room service was something MPs could do without, although she was concerned about jobs. 'We need to keep as many people as possible employed. We have already lost people in security and the mail room."
Parliamentary Service also plans to close the Beanhive cafe - a snack bar built only a few years ago to offer MPs and staffers coffee on the run.
Bellamys: Once considered a gentlemen's club with the best food and finest liquor, served cheap, these days it is used mostly by MPs to impress guests. Open noon-2pm and 6-8.30pm when the House is sitting. Now closed during non-sitting weeks.
Pickwicks: The third-floor Beehive Bar used to be packed but MPs, journalists, lobbyists and parliamentary staffers have fled in recent years. Open Monday- Thursday 5-8pm, and Friday noon-2pm and 4-8pm. Closed when House sitting.
The Beanhive: Opened only a few years ago, it closes this month.
Room Service: Available Monday-Friday from 7am-8.30pm, and 30 minutes after House rises. In non-sitting weeks, hours cut to 7am-4.30pm.
Copperfields: First-floor Beehive cafe caters for around 1000 staff and MPs. Open Monday-Friday, and for dinner Tuesday-Wednesday when House is sitting.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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