New Councillors 1st Job — Give Each Other A Big Pay Rise

The newly elected Kāpiti District Councillors face a pleasant task at their first meeting on November 7 — awarding themselves a large pay rise.

The new-look Council team looking pleased. And wouldn’t you?

It’s proposed that their pay will go up by more than 18 per cent.

And Mayor K Gurunathan’s pay is expected to rise by 12.7 per cent.

According to a KCDC report, base remuneration for councillors will be $36,000. But most will get handsome extra amounts taking the total to $50,000-plus for most positions.

Cr Janet Holborow — slated to get $60,000

Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow would get $60,000.

The proposed chair of the Strategy and Operations committee, James Cootes, would get $56,000.

Other councillors would get $50,610 or $47,000 depending on which jobs they are allocated.

And Mayor K Gurunthan is slated to get a rise of more than $15,000, which would take his pay from $129,000 to nearly $144,000.

For Mayor K Gurunthan and Deputy Janet Holborow, is the sky the limit?
( photo taken in Queen Elizabeth Park in the last triennium)

Thanks Lindy for your comment. The living wage is indeed vital. And in my 7th year as an elected member, while continuing to juggle my role with parenting, and a part time job, it is good to know I will now be remunerated the minimum wage for my council role. Still a way off reaching the living wage,… but The rise is a start.

I read this with interest. Having recently moved to the Kapiti Coast, would it be appropriate to ask where the 12.5% increased value add to the ratepayers is going to be made visible?

Let us each undertake to make contact with our respective councillors and hold them to account. Starting with the 30 hours per week and contact with the ratepayers. If I am not mistaken the saying goes something like, “holding their feet to the flames”.

By law, the Remuneration Authority (central Government) sets the pay for the Mayor and the minimum pay for each councillor. The Council has no power to vary those amounts either up or down. In addition, the Remuneration Authority sets a pool of money which must be used for the extra pay for committee chairs and the like. The Council gets to decide how to divide that pool up, but they are required by law to use every dollar in the pool for that purpose.
And yes, it all comes from the ratepayers’ pockets, not from central Government (but that would just mean it comes from our other pockets as taxpayers). The Remuneration Authority specifically requires councils to spend all of the money that it directs, precisely to avoid pressure on councils to save money by reducing their own pay.

Thats way too much money for our mayor who is but a puppet of the Council Executive. A respondent says it is way above normal pay rises which is true. However a large proportion of ratepayers are retirees who don’t earn any income and for whom rates are becoming an intolerable burden. Some are choosing to move further north just to avoid these fixed costs over which you have no control.

I was also interested that Councillors have an allocated time for meeting with ratepayers. In more than 3 yrs living in the district I have yet to be aware of any single event, including the elections, where councillors engage with the community. A large reason for low voter interest in the elections is that rate payers feel detached from the Council. If you don’t know the candidates personally you only have a brief bio to vote from. The result is a Regional Councillor, who represents our area, re-elected to the total disaster that is Wellington Regional Council. Every one of them should have resigned over the bus fiasco.

The role is paid on the basis of 30 hours per week. If a Councillor earns $35k per annum, that works out to roughly $23 per hour. That’s more than the minimum wage – and more than the living wage. But Councillors are not employees, they are contractors, so they get to claim a whole bunch of expenses against that income. So what they get in the hand will be more than what an ordinary employee on the same pay receives. If the role is more than a 30 hour a week role, then there ought to be community consultation about what is an appropriate allocation of time for it. All of these new Councillors stood for the role knowing what it paid. But a lot of them at some point argued against rates increases, which is where this increase in expense will come from. 18% is a huge pay rise. And this at a time when the focus has been, and needs to still be, managing debt. Many in the community (the people who will pay for this pay rise) are lucky if they get 3% or 4% pay rises. So voting to accept this pay rise will be an act of self-interest on the part of our new Council. Any Councillor with any level of integrity and concern for their people will vote against this pay rise and go back to the remuneration body and ask for something that is in keeping with the economy.

In the good old days it was an honour to serve on a council or be mayor of a town/city, and was done without pay, but as a thank you to citizens, and was considered to be an honour and privilege. Not any more, when the bright sparks on the left decided that paying councillors would result in a better out come, what ever that was supposed to mean. what resulted was empire building at great cost to citizens, lots of nice to have things being implemented, and basic ignoring of essential services, which have become rundown in most areas and are now costing huge amounts to fix. Paying more money to councillors won’t help get done what’s really important, the basics.

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