Hutt City Council has voted to keep its free lunches for councillors.
The vote came after Councillor Campbell Barry protested against what he called "a double standard."
A few weeks ago the council voted not to provide a blanket living wage for its employees but instead look at them on a case-by-case basis as a means of saving on costs.
Mr Barry says he raised the motion to scrap free lunches to set a precedent for the community.
"I walked into the councillors room and saw the meal which had been provided," he says.
"That's when it hit me, why should we get a free meal on the ratepayers?"
He estimated taking away free lunches would have saved the council $14,000 each year.
Mr Barry says he, and a fellow councillor will bring their own meals in from now on.
"If we're cutting things, and expecting more for less, then we need to be doing it ourselves first," he says.
"I'm pretty disappointed, it shows a real double standard looking at ourselves, and looking at our lowest paid workers."
Despite the defeat, he hopes councils around the country will consider bringing their own lunches instead of taking advantage of ratepayers' money.