The Invercargill City Council is sending five people to Japan to visit sister city Kumagaya on Friday – just days after the council copped heavy criticism for sending three staff members to Chinese sister city Suqian to buy Christmas lights.
That contingent arrived home minus any lights and the council copped a barrage of criticism, however it is proceeding with a visit to its other sister city, Kumagaya in Japan.
Council chief executive Richard King said the Kumagaya trip will cost about $20,000 and last about a week, including travelling time.
When asked if the trip was appropriate given the controversy over Suqian, King said the Suqian trip had been a oneoff.
Invercargill had been in a sister city relationship with Kumagaya for more than 22 years and normally sent a delegation there every two years to maintain the political relationship, King said.
The money for the trip comes out of the council’s sister city budget.
“You are either in a sister-city relationship or you aren’t and we have been for the past 22-plus years.”
First of all most sister city relationships provide no benefits except to those who travel on junkets to celebrate them.
Secondly even accepting you have one, why five people for a week? All you need is the Mayor and the CEO for say three days.