News | 4 April 2018

Catering, entertainment and gift spending details released

Wellington City Council has released an extensive amount of information today under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

The information comprises lists of all entertainment, gifts, and catering journaled during the 2017 calendar year.

The information includes:

  • the dates of each transaction
  • vendor
  • number of people entertained/ catered for
  • description of the entertainment/event, gift, and catering.

The information was requested under the terms of the Act by the NZ Taxpayers’ Union. Given the extent of the information, and the legitimate public interest in the council’s overall expenditure, the Council has decided to proactively share the information more generally as well as with the NZTU.

You can view the detailed information in the PDF below.

In summary, the spending totals are:

Category Total 2017
Entertainment $63,527
Catering (including external community events and citizenship ceremonies) $214,311
Gifts – Internal – for staff $20,549
Gifts – External $37,739
Total $336,126

The City Council’s acting Chief Executive, Kane Patena, says the expenditure is consistent with the Council’s agreed sensitive-expenditure policies and subject to regular sensitive expenditure audits.

He notes that the $336,126 spent on catering, entertainment and gifts in 2017 was about 0.07 percent of the Council’s total annual expenditure.

Mr Patena says the Council has sufficient checks and balances in place to provide necessary assurances that the use of public money is prudent and reasonable.

He says the Council has a number of controls around expenditure. These include policies on appropriate expenditure (e.g. Discretionary Expenditure Policy, Delegation Policy and Purchasing Card Policy), training for people who hold P-cards, limitations on who can commit the Council to expenditure, approval of expenditure and our Codes of Conduct.

Mr Patena says the Council is working towards releasing sensitive expenditure information, with high public interest, every six months.

Mayor Justin Lester says: “It’s important for us to be transparent to Wellingtonians about the things we do at the Council.” He supports the move by the organisation to make this information public proactively every six months.