Seasonal parties' bill tops $2500

By John Cousins

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Ratepayers forked out over $2500 for Christmas parties held for representatives of the Tauranga and Western Bay councils.

Bay of Plenty Times inquiries showed that the Tauranga City Council's function at Spuntino's in Wharf St cost just over $1000 for the mayor, nine councillors and their partners - a total of 20 people.

The Western Bay District Council's function at the Woolshed Cafe in the Kaimais cost $1500 for 30 people, including partners. It comprised the mayor, 11 councillors and three senior staff.

This total bill of just over $2500 was significantly less than the $6000 tab which Rotorua ratepayers picked up for their council's Christmas function. It was attended by the mayor, councillors, senior staff and their partners - a total of 48 people.

The exception was the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which did not have a Christmas party for its councillors. Regional council chairman John Cronin said it was decided not to have a Christmas function in the interests of saving money in the harsh economic times when many ratepayers were suffering financial stress.

"It is not reasonable to have Christmas function on the ratepayers. Quite frankly, we were all too busy and too tired anyway," he said.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said the function at Spuntino's was a set three-course menu and cost just over $1000. The bill included a couple of bottles of wine and a few beers.

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said their function was reasonably modest. It consisted of a meal and one or two drinks after which everyone drove home. Sometimes the council provided a bus but the Woolshed Cafe was so central that it was decided a bus was unnecessary this year.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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