Hutt City Councillor wants end to free lunches

No more buffet meals or roast chicken, Mr Barry says (iStock)
No more buffet meals or roast chicken, Mr Barry says (iStock)

Hutt City Council member Campbell Barry is fired up about council members getting free buffet meals, especially when they've just passed what he calls a "sham" living wage policy.

Mr Barry thinks the wage policy doesn't go far enough because it only pays a living wage when it is "the most cost effective" way for the council to do so.

It also applies only to those directly employed by the council, and it'll be decided on a case by case basis in the most cost effective manner.

"It's a bit of a sham, a sham policy, it looks like you're doing it but you're not really," he told Newshub.

Mr Barry says the policy is a way for the Council to "pay lip service" without actually doing anything.

"I support the living wage, but I don't support the policy that we've passed."

Mr Barry is also upset that once the policy was passed by the Council last week, buffet meals were rolled out for the Councillors.

In a public Facebook post, Mr Barry described how he "felt sick to my stomach" seeing the meals that were paid for by the taxpayer.

"7 of 13 Councillors argued that a Living Wage must only be paid when it is the 'the most cost effective' way for Council to undertake that service," Mr Barry wrote on his Facebook page.

"Meaning few will get it. But [the Councillors] were still happy to sit down and eat their roast chicken."

Mr Barry wants to take away the free meals provided at meetings, which he estimates will save the Council $15,000 - $20,000 each year.

He hopes that his colleagues will be consistent in their desire for cost effectiveness, and support his wish that they bring their own lunch.

While he says he's had some support from some Councillors, others were totally against it. The motion will be heard at a meeting at the end of June.

He thinks that the Council should be leading the way with a living wage policy, adding that "it doesn't have to happen all at once".