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SWDC splashes the cash


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South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] offices got an early Christmas present of tens of thousands of dollars of new office gear.

On December 15, Martinborough residents noticed workers offloading items from two large delivery vans outside the SWDC offices in Kitchener St.

SWDC has now confirmed it bought a wide range of office furniture, costing almost $115,000, including GST.

One of two large vans delivering furniture to SWDC in December. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

The Times-Age asked SWDC for details of the deliveries on the day, but the request was dealt with under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 [LGOIMA] with a formal response sent last week.

The LGOIMA response said workstations and other items were bought.

“Staff workstations [desks, chairs, under desk mobile units, screens], meeting room chairs, and storage cabinets,” the SWDC spokesperson said.

They said the office items cost $99,643.00 excluding GST, making a total of $114,589.45 including tax.

The spend-up comes as SWDC has been widely criticised for its admitted miscommunication of last years rates hike of almost 30 per cent.

The SWDC spokesperson said it was necessary to buy the items now because existing equipment was a safety hazard, among other reasons.

“The current furniture was in a poor state and in many instances no longer fit for purpose or a safety hazard.”

They said the new things would allow for improved social distancing.

“The size of desks were downsized. Making workstations smaller allows further capacity within the current office footprint as well as providing better social distancing.”

Old items had been repurposed or given away. Some had been sold to staff.

“Broken furniture beyond repair was disposed of. Existing furniture with a book value and able to be repurposed has been kept and/or stored for future use.

The remaining furniture was, in the first instance, offered and sold to staff for a small fee.

A Mua, the recycle/upcycle centre in Featherston, was offered the remaining furniture [mainly desks] for free. However, they declined due to lack of storage space and lack of demand for large desks.”

The Times-Age asked who authorised the expenditure.

“The expenditure was authorised and approved under the council’s Financial Delegation Policy,” the spokesperson said.

The LGOIMA response confirmed the 2018/2019 SWDC Annual Plan had included $500,000 of capital expenditure for renovation and refurbishment of the council offices, which
had funded the goods.

“This budget has not been fully utilised and has been carried over for the last two years. The new furniture purchases have been funded from this budget.”

The new office equipment was delivered by Commercial Furniture Installations, which uses the slogan ‘Making the complicated easy’. The firm is a specialist office provider whose website states it has serviced household brands like Vodafone, Amazon and Foodstuffs.

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