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“We Wellington” Waste Should See CCO Funding Frozen

The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on the Wellington City and Wellington Regional Councils to freeze the funding of their economic and tourism promotion agency after its ill-judged “We Wellington” campaign - wasting tens of thousands in ratepayer money on full-page newspaper ads and social media advertising.

Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman, Jordan Williams, said: “WellingtonNZ needs its wings clipped. At the very time councils need to be saving pennies and freezing rates, these faceless bureaucrats are launching a colourful ‘feel good’ campaign with ratepayers’ money.”

“What extraordinary arrogance. While thousands of Wellington ratepayers sit at home nervously awaiting updates on whether they still have jobs, let alone can pay rates, an unelected agency splashes money on a media campaign with no apparent purpose.”

“Ironically, amidst the campaign’s material, one of the adverts claims the Council is managing COVID's impact on finances and ratepayers. Is that some sort of sick joke, or is WellingtonNZ so out of touch with Wellington they think this is a good spend?”

“If the controversial CEO of WellingtonNZ Lance Walker hadn’t already filed his resignation, he’d surely be required by Councillors to offer it now. The Council should bring forward his departure from June to today. Wasteful spending is one thing - trying to keep the amount spent secret is disgraceful.”

In a letter sent to all Mayors last week, the Taxpayers' Union called for a rates freeze (zero increases for 2020) and for all councils to identify and cut low quality and low priority spending to redirect to civil defence and ratepayer relief efforts.

Mr Williams says "This sort of nonsense is precisely the sort of spending no one needs. An agency dedicated to international tourism promotion isn't needed during a pandemic. This campaign exhibits that they have nothing to do, and should be abolished as part of an effort to save money."

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