Hutt City Councillors have voted down a proposal to scrap free meals at council meetings.
Councillor Campbell Barry put forward a motion for councillors to provide their own meals instead.
Mayor Ray Wallace supported the idea in principle, but he voted against the motion when it was put to a vote this evening, arguing councillors are only being provided with dinners during evening meetings.
"There's been a lot of media correspondence about free lunches. The council don't meet during the day so there are no free lunches."
Barry said the type of meal they were receiving was irrelevant.
"It's missing the point. The meals are still there. The meals are still eaten by this council and so I think going down that track is a little bit of a sideshow."
Barry said the dinners were insulting to ratepayers and low-paid council workers.
"Many of our residents in the city work two jobs, 60-hour weeks, just to make ends meet. They don't go to their second job and expect a meal from their employer. Why should it be any different for us?"
Though Wallace said when meetings are going to take more than an hour, chairs have the right to request additional catering.
The motion narrowly failed by six votes to seven.