The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that, despite plans to declare a ‘climate emergency’, Wellington City Council spent a massive $623,296 on air travel in the previous financial year.
This makes Wellington City the country’s second highest-spending council behind Auckland City ($1,221,571). Notably, Wellington City’s air travel spending is more than double that of Christchurch City ($278,316), despite Wellington City’s considerably smaller population base.
A major contributor to the air travel blowout was economic development agency WREDA, which spent $201,464 – $168,672 of which was international.
For Justin Lester to declare a ‘climate emergency’ is incredible hypocrisy. He needs to look in the mirror: his Council and CCOs have been spewing emissions at a massive rate while enjoying ratepayer-funded junkets to the likes of Switzerland and Shanghai.
Ratepayers will be looking on with envy at the lucky bureaucrats who flew premium economy to Texas for the South by Southwest Festival, or London for a live music conference. It’s completely unclear how this relates to delivering value for ratepayers, or how it aligns with the Council’s virtue-signalling on climate. In fact, it’s out of touch on every level.
What’s so special about Wellington that its Council needs to spend almost twice as much as Christchurch on air travel? Councillors ought to be embarrassed and must demand changes in policy and culture inside the Council and its CCOs.
Wellington City Council Group air travel, 2017/18
- Domestic: $275,269 (1,438 flights)
- International: $348,027
- Total: $623,296
Sub-groups (click titles for raw documents):
- Domestic: $145,736 (973 flights)
- International: $99,488
- Total: $252,224
- Domestic: $32,792 (136 flights)
- International: $168,672 (107 flights)
- Total: $201,464
- Domestic: $50,979 (136 flights)
- International: $7,977
- Total: $58,956
- Domestic: $10,511 (36 flights)
- International: $41,677 (23 flights)
- Total: $52,189
- Domestic: $16,963 (47 flights)
- International: $19,843
- Total: $36,806
- Domestic: $13,225 (87 flights)
- International: $9,901
- Total: $23,126
- Domestic: $3,782.14 (11 flights)
- International: Nil
- Total: $3,782.14
- Domestic: $1,281 (12 flights)
- International: $469
- Total: $1,750
- Total: Nil
The number of international flights is not available for every agency.