Pay increase for councillors
South Waikato District Councillors are in for a pay increase after new changes from the Remuneration Authority were voted for.
A vote to increase the salaries of elected members of council was passed at a recent council meeting.
The move was in response to changes made by the Remuneration Authority for consideration for 2016 to 2017.
The Remuneration Authority is the independent statutory body responsible for setting elected member remuneration.
This would take the maximum total value of all elected member remuneration up to $377,679 from $353,899.
The pool is available to each council to provide additional pay for members who take on additional responsibilities.
Currently the fund is capped at 150 per cent of the base councillor salary for the years 2015 to 2016.
The change will increase this cap to 200 per cent increasing the base salary.
The change would give an 8.4 per cent increase to councillors from a remuneration pool of $45,510.
This includes a 2.5 per cent increase for the Tirau Community members.
Mayor Neil Sinclair said it was a strange time to vote on the increase with the local elections due this year.
‘‘We have no idea what the committee structure will be like from October but who questions the way of our great fathers who live in Wellington.’’
He said the new structure would meet the increased workload of elected members.
‘‘We’ve long complained to government that the workload and the role of council is not understood.
‘‘We have to do it now but there will be a change,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s good to see the governance has recognised the work that councils do.’’
Councillor Bill Machen said the pay had always been low but he didn’t do the job for the money.
‘‘The hourly rate was poor years ago.
‘‘But I feel that you accept that’s it’s not for the money, but it’s what’s best for the community and the area.’’
Chief executive Craig Hobbs said under the current structure the change has to be done.
Councils around the country were making similair votes.