Coun­cil runs up big bill for plants

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Be­ing green comes at a cost – Porirua City Coun­cil spent $46,713 on pot plants in the year to March 2012.

That com­pares to $30,000 spent by Welling­ton City Coun­cil on in­door plants the same year.

Porirua’s costs re­late to in­door plants in the coun­cil’s of­fice blocks and at pub­lic spa­ces such as Pataka, Te Rau­paraha Arena, the cen­tral li­brary, the i-Site, Gear Homestead and Whenua Tapu cre­ma­to­rium, for a to­tal of 322 plants.

The fig­ure does not in­clude out­door plants or the flower tow­ers un­der the Canopies.

The amount is a shock and will be in­ves­ti­gated, says the coun­cil’s act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive, David Rolfe.

‘‘When we saw those fig­ures we were sur­prised it cost so much and we’ll look at see­ing if we can re­duce our costs. We’re al­ways look­ing at our ex­pen­di­ture, we have bud­gets, but I think this one wasn’t ac­tu­ally iden­ti­fied as a cost to look at. Th­ese things can creep away on you.’’

Welling­ton City Coun­cil’s spend only re­lated to its coun­cil of­fices, not pub­lic spa­ces, Mr Rolfe says.

‘‘It’s not a fair com­par­i­son be­tween the two, in that we pro­vide prob­a­bly nine dif­fer­ent sites, not just the coun­cil build­ing, and I’m sure they all add to the ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

All Porirua City Coun­cil’s plants are from its own nurs­ery, which saves money, Mr Rolfe says. Each plant is wa­tered once a week.

The coun­cil will try to re­duce costs but won’t get rid of its in­door fo­liage, he says.

‘‘It pro­vides a pleas­ant en­vi­ron­ment for staff, and they ac­tu­ally im­prove air qual­ity.’’

Green­ery en­hances pub­lic spa­ces, too, he says.

‘‘ We wouldn’t want the cre­ma­to­rium to be de­void of plants.’’

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