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WCC legal challenge

The Taxpayers’ Union is currently considering legal action against Wellington City Council following the council voting to extend the so-called living wage to private contractors.

Like others, our initial legal advice is that the Council is highly likely in breach of the Local Government Act which requires Council to provide services in the most efficient manner. If the property and business groups decide against seeking judicial review of the Council we are almost certain to do so.

Our main hesitation is that the Council may throw good money after bad to defend the decision. But that might be a necessary evil to act as a reminder to councils throughout the country that they are required to be prudent stewards of ratepayers’ money.

Choosing to pay someone more than is necessary for him or her to do the job does not alleviate poverty. Charging people on the minimum wage more money in rates so the Council can pay higher wages is expensive virtue signally with ratepayers picking up the bill. Why should those working for the minimum wage pay more in rates for councillors to feel good about themselves?

Our Chairman, John Bishop, was recently interviewed by Mark Sainsbury on RadioLive about our likely legal challenge. John explains our opposition to the move and why the Council should stay out of the affairs of a private company. Audio available here.

David Farrar has obtained a transcript of the Wellington City Council’s CEO advising Councillors against the move, which is available on Kiwiblog. 

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