EXCLUSIVE: Why is Penny Webster claiming such high expenses?

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One of the Auckland councillors who voted for the 9.9% rates rise, and is the target of the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance campaign against stupid council spending, Penny Webster, has some very, very interesting expense claims.

Somehow, Cr Webster managed to claim more than the Mayor, and about four-and-a-half times as much as other councillors. This is all according to Auckland Council’s own figures.

Under the requirements of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 details of elected member’s travel, accommodation, meals, mobile phone and other claimed expenses and allowances must be made available publicly. Auckland Council update this information every six months via their website.

Auckland Council have an expense policy describing the reimbursement of costs incurred by elected members carrying out legitimate council duties, including any travel and subsistence costs.  

Since the formation of the Auckland Council prominent Councillor Dick Quax has received $9,110.62 in expense allowances, Councillor Cameron Brewer $11,623.06, Councillor Sir John Walker $23,024.66 and Councillor Christine Fletcher $13,977.09.

Councillor George Wood and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, both of whom were appointed Committee chairs by the Mayor, have received $28,703.57 and $33,957.79 in expense reimbursements respectively.

The Mayor Len Brown has claimed $88,454.70 in expenses and allowances according to Auckland Council’s figures. The majority of these costs relate to travel and accommodation of $82,188.52. Apparently none of these were related to a certain Chinese takeaway Len was into.

So why the hell has Penny Webster racked up the biggest bill of $89,748.29 of expense claims?  Webster’s taxi, parking, mileage and other travel allowances totalled $56,896.06 to December 2015, the latest figures available.

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Is Penny Webster f0ur times better than councillors like Fletcher, Brewer or Quax?


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