As every Council Mayor and CEO is having their credit card expenses OIAed, I am getting the feeling that the media seem to think a story must be written, even if nothing newsworthy. Take the Wgtn City Council CEO:
Wellington ratepayers have funded the drinks tab for Air New Zealand executives, motivational books and luxury accommodation – including a council boss’s two-night hotel bill of nearly $1200.
Wellington City Council chief executive Garry Poole – who was not available for comment as the council does “not think it’s necessary for him to actually have to defend such minor spending” – racked up $5940 in two years from July 2008 on his “purchase card”.
That’s an average of $250 a month.
Mr Poole’s two-night $1192.68 accommodation plus expenses tab was for The Heathman Hotel, in Portland, Oregon, described as luxury accommodation and named as one of the top 500 hotels in the world, by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Council spokesman Richard MacLean said US$250 a night was an acceptable amount to pay for accommodation, and was hampered by a “grotesque” exchange rate at the time.
“We do not expect our chief executive to stay in a backpackers in a rural suburb of Portland.”
US$250 a night is not an unreasonable tariff. I have stayed in US hotels that cost way more than that. Now sure, I paid my own way, but the point is that many US hotels costs this much.