From a $1210 farewell dinner to the mayor at Vidal's to a $926 delegation at Craggy Range, the Hastings District Council spent a staggering $116,371.19, across council on catering in 2017.

$50,375 of that was spent on catering for the council's "elected members" - which added up to about $1000 a week.

More than $20,000 was spent on "staff functions", $19k on "council" and $23,000 on "civil public meetings", according to figures from the Taxpayers' Union.

The catered full day meetings included lavish platters bursting with fresh crusted bread, stuffed olives, salmon sushi and rich cheeses; topped off with fresh fruit, Whittaker's chocolate and twisted red liquorice.


The cost of the catered meetings stacked up to $21,880.97.

Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke questioned the spend.

"Why is it that the Hastings District Councillors need to spend more than 10 times the amount on food than Napier's entire council? What could possibly be the explanation for this?

"Do Hastings' councillors have eyes bigger than their stomachs, are they forgetting to eat their morning Weet-Bix?"

A Hastings District Council spokesperson said that all catering expenses incurred by the council comprised not only council and council committee meetings.

"Catering for these meetings totalled $19,142 for the year.

"In addition, a number of other public meetings, events, and functions were catered: Monthly citizenship ceremonies, catered full-day meetings involving people external to council.

"In 2017 catering costs also included the water symposium held over two days in June at Peak Vision Church ($12,707), which featured 30 speakers and members of the public."


The catering figures compared to that of the Napier City Council which spent $4285.44.

A Napier City Council spokesperson said the reason for the low cost was due to council setting up meeting times so that in most situations, catering was not required.

"For example council meetings start 3pm, and are generally over by 5pm, and therefore no catering is required. This approach is supported by the councillors."

Mayor Bill Dalton said he was still astonished by the figures compared with Hastings.

"I'm surprised we spent so much, we run meetings throughout the week and they're either in the morning or in the afternoons, so the meetings don't usually need to be catered. Meals are the councillors' own responsibility."

The next big spend was by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, with a total spend of $44,955.63.


Hawke's Bay Regional Council Corporate Services Manager Jessica Ellerm said the council was conscious of the cost impact of catering and regularly reviewed its policies and catering contracts to ensure "expenditure was appropriate".

In the last calendar year it managed to reduce its catering costs more than $3000.

"We supply lunch for council meetings and some offsite meetings, as well as meetings with outside organisations which span lunchtime."

"Catering from January- December 2017 was $42,610 excluding GST, there were 190 separate catering requests. The average councillors lunch in 2017 was $278 excluding GST."

"Catering from Jan-Dec 2016 was $45,790 excluding GST."

Bulging figures further revealed that the Central Hawke's Bay District Council spent $34,362.36 on catering events.


Mayor Alex Walker said during the space of 12 months the council hosted a wide variety of "formal civic functions".

"Community events and council meetings-hospitality and manaakitanga are important to us and we welcome guests from within our community and visitors from further afield.

"I am comfortable that we take a sensible and cost effective approach."

Hawke's Bay Today did not receive comment from Wairoa District Council, which spent $29,623.77 on its catering in 2017.