The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has revealed that Waikato Regional Council last year sent out 177 electronic Christmas cards to political insiders – at cost of $9,341*, or $53 per card.
The Union was tipped off about the cards by one of the recipients, who was concerned about the extravagance of the ridiculous ‘gesture’. According to the Council, the cards were sent to 177 “leaders of central and local government organisations, Waikato’s ministers [sic] of parliament, and non-government organisations with which Waikato Regional Council works closely.”
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Investing this much time and money into a feel-good Christmas message for political insiders suggests the Regional Council is either overfunded, or has its priorities completely out of whack.”
“Fellow bureaucrats might have been impressed by the bells and whistles, but ratepayers will be wondering why the money wasn’t instead used for core services like roads and rubbish.”
“This was an unjustifiable indulgence, and the Regional Council needs to confirm it was a one-off. A more ratepayer-friendly option would have been to visit The Warehouse, which is selling 10-packs of Christmas cards for 47 cents.”
*Including GST and postage.