Friday, February 23, 2024

David Farrar: Why did ratepayers pay for the dinner?

The Post reports:

Wellington City Council treated the multi-millionaire bosses of Reading Cinema to a lavish dinner, with almost a quarter of the bill for booze.

The Post revealed in November how sisters Ellen and Margaret Cotter, who head the family's entertainment and real estate empire, flew to the Capital to meet secretly with new mayor Tory Whanau and council chief executive Barbara McKerrow.

The upshot was a controversial $32m deal for the cash-strapped councilto buy the land under the vacant complex on Courtenay Place and lease it back to Reading for 21 years. …

Including Whanau, McKerrow and infrastructure head Siobhan Proctor, eight council representatives made up the party of 10. Ellen Cotter is Reading chief executive and president, and Margaret is the company's board chairperson.

They dined on a $95 seasonal set menu, a $78 bottle of Pinot Gris, two bottles of Pinot Noir totalling $145, a $62 bottle of Chardonnay, two glasses of Viognier, and two lagers.

The total bill came to $1394.30, roughly equivalent to four months of rates for the average ratepayer.

The cost of the dinner is not excessive. $1,400 for a dinner of 10 at a nice establishment such as Ortega is actually quite unreasonable.

What is unreasonable is why the Council (ratepayers) were paying at all? Was offering the US millionairres $32 million corporate welfare not enough, that we had to throw the dinner in also?

The Reading Cinema owners should be the ones shouting the dinner for their relief they'd found a Council stupid enough to bail them out.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Ken S said...

So we know what Tory had to drink, did the other attendees pay separately?

Anonymous said...

Can I swap paying my rates for a dinner out instead?