Someone at the very beginning should have said, wait how much money are we talking about here? $350 x 22 people is around $7,000. In the context of total Council expenditure that is petty cash. How could anyone – whether they be staff or elected, think that for $7,000 you should risk offending the families of those who died in the earthquake.
Sanity eventually prevailed, and Mayor Bob Parker announced the fees will be waived, as promised. It is better late than never, but some damage has been done. This should have been elevated to the Mayor when it first emerged – not after it hits the media.
I also talk about a similar issue back in the late 90s, with the then National Government.