Fuseworks Media

Whanau and McKerrow’s $1,400 secret dinner deal makes a mockery out of Wellington ratepayers

Commenting on a lavish $1,400 seafood dinner between Wellington City Council Mayor Tory Whanau, Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow, and the heads of Reading Cinema – Ellen and Margaret Cotter – which was part of a secret business meeting for the Council to purchase the land under the Reading Cinema Complex, Taxpayers’ Union Researcher, Alex Murphy, said:

“It was outrageous enough to find out that Whanau and McKerrow had flown the Cotter sisters out to Wellington for a secret business meeting just 4 days after the Mayor was elected, but it’s made all the more embarrassing to now discover that thousands of ratepayer dollars – a quarter of which was just spent on booze – was splashed around to seal the deal.

“And while the cost of this dinner is wasteful enough, the upshot from that meeting will be even more painful for ratepayers, with the Council set to spend $32 million on purchasing the land under Reading Cinema. It was clear from the Town Hall debacle that the Mayor didn’t understand sunk costs, but surely even she could have figured out that investing a few thousand ratepayer dollars into a dinner didn’t mean she had to buy the whole property!

“Wellington City Council’s leadership has time and again shown itself to be irresponsible with ratepayer funds. It’s about time the books are opened, and Wellington’s council heads are held to account for their continued wasteful spending and underhanded behaviour.”