Councillor Gail Sheriff doesn't seem particularly keen to talk about her 'sandcastle study tour' to sunny San Diego.

The affair has gone national and both TVNZ and TV3 have tried to chase her down for comment only to find that she always seems to be 'out'.

And she has also refused to talk about her ratepayer-funded trip to The Press who have been doggedly pursuing her for comment. Although she has found time to claim that she and her family have been harassed by people who are, strangely enough, unhappy that she's been living it up at their expense.

Sheriff's reluctance to talk about her trip is all very odd since she usually not slow to voice her opinions on most things.

Back in 2008 for example, she not only voted for Sideshow Bob's attempt to raise council rents by a massive 24 percent but argued that the council's public housing stock should he flicked off to Housing New Zealand - which actually would be a direct violation of council policy.

Sheriff spent the first three months of 2008 sitting on another beach- this time in Bali. Despite the fact she was on full pay, Sideshow Bob said he was 'comfortable' with Sheriff's holiday.

Some two years later we discover that Bob approved Sheriff's junket to California - after he initially said that he was '99 percent certain' that it had not been funded by the council. And, because he's up for re-election, Bob can't so glibly dismiss this new Sheriff junket.

Meanwhile, having copped some flak for being yet another councillor double dipping at the ratepayers expense, Sue Wells is trying to take the heat off both her mate Sheriff and her hero Sideshow Bob.

Sheriff's trip was funded from a ratepayer-funded training pot and Wells now wants its use disclosed regularly.

'I think we have to put our hand up', she has pontificated. She's not saying that Sheriff or Bob have done anything wrong though, you will notice.

This is the same Sue Wells who has not 'put her hand up' when it comes to directors fees. She still thinks she is 'entitled' to the nearly $29,000 worth of directors fees she receives.

Ironically, Wells is the councillor who has used the training funds the most. She has received some $7000.

While the already inflated salaries of councillors seem to go in only an upwards direction, the wages of us ordinary joes and joannes have actually declined.

The official data shows that real wages in New Zealand declined approximately 25% between 1982 and the mid 90s and have never recovered. Wages still lie 25 percent below their peak in 1982 - while costs have continued to rise.

Sideshow Bob and his council groupies are cavorting around in a big vat of cash while a great many people are simply struggling to survive.

Wouldn't it be nice if councillors were paid the average wage?

How many of our so-called 'representatives' would hang around, do you think?

I suspect that very few of them would stand for election again.


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