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Canterbury catering costs revealed: Christchurch City Council spends $51,000 on milk

Christchurch City Council spent $350,208 on entertainment, gifts, and catering in 2017 – including $51,572 on milk, reveals the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

This makes Christchurch City the council with the highest level of ‘indulgence spending’ in New Zealand (aside from Auckland Council, who say they are unable to provide equivalent figures).

The bulk of these expenses ($336,130) came from catering, with the largest source of such expenses being the Antarctic Office, which spent $54,348, followed by the all-of-council spend on milk, at $51,572, followed by catering for citizenship ceremonies, at $36,840.

Fifty grand spent on milk alone is an astounding figure, that reflects just how bloated Christchurch’s army of council bureaucrats has become. Either that, or the Mayor is taking milk baths.

Catering expenses are largely non-essential, and should be near first in line for budget cuts when ratepayers are getting squeezed. The fact that the Antarctic Office, totally tangential to core council business, managed to spend $54,000 on wining and dining should warrant an audit from councillors.

Canterbury ratepayers are also under the pump from the Regional Council, which spend $287,087 on entertainment, gifts, and catering, including $155,253 at one catering business, Pulp Kitchen Catering.

Ecan’s indulgence spending was higher than any other regional council in the country. For comparison, Wellington Regional Council’s total equivalent spend was $37,450.

Below are spending figures for all Canterbury territories, ranked from highest total to lowest.

Christchurch City Council
Entertainment: Included with gifts and catering
Gifts: $14,078.42
Catering: $336,130.00
Total: $350,208.42

Canterbury Regional Council (Ecan)
Entertainment: Included with gifts and catering
Gifts: $8,125.70
Catering: $278,962.19
Total: $287,087.89

Ashburton District Council
Entertainment: $20,370.67
Gifts: $4,036.88
Catering: $81,330.76
Total: $105,738.31 

Waimakariri District Council
Entertainment: Included with gifts and catering
Gifts: $7,989.23
Catering: $69,915.91
Total: $77,905.14

Timaru District Council
Entertainment: $1,065.93
Gifts: $2,936.65
Catering: $40,967.73
Total: $44,970.31

Waitaki District Council
Entertainment: $0.00
Gifts: $0.00
Catering: $25,958.41
Total: $25,958.41

Hurunui District Council
Entertainment: $0.00
Gifts: $3,664.62
Catering: $9,232.64
Total: $12,897.26

Mackenzie District Council
Entertainment: $0.00
Gifts: $779.46
Catering: $8,528.32
Total: $9,307.78

Selwyn District Council
Entertainment: $0.00
Gifts: $0.00
Catering: $9,060.00
Total: $9,060.00

Kaikoura District Council
Entertainment: $5,596.87
Gifts: $1,063.50
Catering: $1,795.02
Total: $8,455.39 

Waimate District Council
Entertainment: Included with gifts and catering
Gifts: $3,615.00
Catering: $3,729.13
Total: $7,344.13

All figures were obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Breakdowns for Christchurch City Council and Ecan are available here:

Christchurch City Council catering (including milk)
Christchurch City Council gifts
Ecan catering
Ecan gifts


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