Wellington Chamber of Commerce to seek judicial review of Council decision over living wage

Very pleased to see that the Wellington Chamber of Commerce is seeking a judicial review of the council’s dopey living wage rules.

It’s about time that dud councillors were held personally responsible for their dopey decisions.

Wellington City Council’s decision to pay its security contractors a living wage is headed to the High Court, and ratepayers could end up paying some of the legal bills.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday that it would seek a judicial review of the council’s living wage policy.

The council, which has been paying its own staff a living wage since 2013, voted 9-6 in October to require its security services contractors do the same.

The living wage is the hourly rate a worker needs to participate as an active citizen in the community. That amount is currently $19.25 per hour but the council’s interpretation is $18.55.

Bumping up the wages of all security guards, noise control officers and cash collection staff was estimated to cost the council an extra $1.7 million on top of the price of the seven-year contract.   

To counter this, councillors cut personnel and staff travel costs by $250,000 a year for seven years.

But councillors were also warned by chief executive Kevin Lavery that the move could be illegal, as the council would effectively be paying 19 per cent more than the going rate for security services without seeing any “tangible” benefit.

The council’s lawyers believed it would lose if taken to court over the issue, as the Local Government Act prohibits councils from paying more than necessary for services without any corresponding benefit.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said it did not take any great delight in heading to court, but the council needed to be held to account.

If the Chamber wins then the Council could be sued for the losses, more importantly so could the councillors…jointly and severally…except those who voted against it.

Councils have legal advisors and officers for a reason. To ignore their warnings is lazy and incompetent.

Hopefully this case will send a signal to other dopey councillors that they are liable for dopey decisions.

There is nothing more dopey than letting an activist vicar from the Hutt Valley set wage levels.


– Fairfax

Do you want:

  • ad-free access?
  • access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • access to Incite Politics magazine articles?

Silver subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March.

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.