Despite “climate emergency”, Dunedin City Council is third-highest spender on air travel
Using figures obtained under the Local Government Information Act, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Dunedin City Council was the country’s third-highest spending council in terms of air travel in the last financial year.
The Council spent $347,885 on air travel in 2017/18 – $214,067 of which was domestic, $133,818 of which was international.
“This is incredible hypocrisy,” says Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke. “You have to wonder how Councillors who voted for the ‘climate emergency’ did so with a straight face. On one hand they’re telling ratepayers to expect major lifestyle changes and sacrifices, on the other hand they and their staff are burning jet fuel at a rate that would make NASA proud.”
“We would love to know how or why the Council racked up this eye-watering expenditure, but the Council has refused to release the destinations of its flights, despite multiple requests. Almost every other council in the country has been able to provide this information, so why is Dunedin City Council refusing to be transparent? Is it ashamed of the extravagance of its ratepayer-funded, emissions-spewing junkets?”
“What we can say is that we see Dave Cull in the fashionable cafés of Wellington every other week. Perhaps Mayor Cull has passed on the jet-setting culture of Local Government New Zealand to his local Council, at the expense of Dunedin ratepayers.”
The first and second-highest spending Councils were Auckland and Wellington, which spent $1,221,571 and $591,310 respectively.
The Taxpayers' Union will be contacting the Ombudsman regarding Dunedin City Council's failure to release information on flight destinations.