12 Mar 2013

South Island council in $5m budget blowout

9:10 am on 12 March 2013

Westland District Council is reviewing all its spending after blowing its budget by $5.1 million in the first half of the financial year.

Chief executive Tanya Winter says the local body has overspent in all areas of its $20 million budget.

Ms Winter says the council will meet next week to discuss how it can make savings, including whether it should scale back some services.

"Bottom line I guess is that we're spending more than we're earning and we need to be taking a more prudent approach to the range of services that we are delivering to the community."

Westland resident Anthea Keenan is organising a public march and meeting for 9 April and says ratepayers have been concerned about council spending for years.

She says the council should concentrate on core functions such as water and sewerage before "gloss and glamour" spending.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says most councils are managing their budgets well but ratepayers sometimes have unrealistic expectations about which services their council can afford.