A Hawke's Bay regional councillor's invitation to the public to test new $700 chairs has been met with a suggestion it might be time to replace other "assets" past their used by date.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has spent more than $21,000 on 26 new chairs for its council chambers at a cost of $710 plus GST.

It seems that's the going rate for a politician's seat - eight years ago Hastings District Council bought 26 chairs at a cost of $917 each.

HDC spent $23,842 but have more councillors than HBRC.


The HBRC spending has attracted some criticism, but in a Facebook conversation with Hawke's Bay Today readers, Cr Paul Bailey defended the cost, even inviting the public to test the chairs out.

"I have no problem with this expenditure. Every asset depreciates over time and should be replaced. The old chairs were well past their used by dates.

"You're all welcome to come in and sit in one of the new ones, which are pretty basic albeit comfortable."

HBT reader Colleen O'Sullivan observed that "Well Mr Bailey, there are some pretty old assets (using the term loosely) sitting on those very expensive chairs which appear to be really past their use by dates, so time to replace them perhaps?"

"One of the great thing about democracy is politicians have to reapply for their jobs every election," Cr Bailey replied.

The new chairs being used for the first time at a full Hawke's Bay Regional Council meeting. Photo / Supplied
The new chairs being used for the first time at a full Hawke's Bay Regional Council meeting. Photo / Supplied

He also pointed out that a $700 chair was a better "value proposition" than a cheaper seat, after HBT reader Lisa Cunningham observed that "over $600 per chair is ridiculous and certainly not basic. Basic would be a $100 chair. What a joke!"

Cr Bailey said the challenge with a $100 chair would be its longevity.

"I would suggest not long given the amount of use these chairs get. Therefore paying more for a chair that will last the distance makes them a better value proposition."


Cr Bailey was also open to contemplating meetings without chairs, after Anaru Reid Ratapu suggested "It should be a standing table so they don't sit there all day debating".

Cr Bailey replied: "There's a lot to be said for rethinking the way we do things. (I) would be interesting to know if any other decision making body makes their decisions whilst standing."