Does Invercargill need this many sisters?
Following recent revelations of the four Invercargill City Council staff being sent to a Chinese sister city to procure light bulbs and coming back empty handed despite the cost to Invercargill City ratepayers amounting to more than $21,000 - the Taxpayers’ Union is shocked to learn that a new five member delegation is off Japan on Friday to visit another sister city.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “There comes a point where political leaders have to ask what benefit the ratepayers actually receives for these expensive jaunts overseas.”
The Taxpayers’ Union has confirmed that the Invercargill Councillors traveling to Japan are doing so on the ratepayers’ expense, despite previous visits whereby Councillors have paid their own way.
"Why isn't Tim Shadbolt taking on this issue? Where is the leadership?"
“Councillors used to pay for their own flights when international sister cities hosted delegations That practise now appears to be out the window, with officials and hangers-on now regularly flying on the ratepayers' tab.”
“Sister city relationships existed to facilitate cultural understanding and friendship post-World War II. At a time where most countries have large ex-pat communities and communication has never been easier, it’s time these expensive sister city arrangements are questioned.”
“We’re calling on councils up and down New Zealand to conduct audits into what value, if any, ratepayers get from these overseas junkets. Even councillors are now contacting us to say it’s its time the gravy train dried up.”