Rick Curach: Pay deal not a big issue

By John Cousins

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The Tauranga city councillor who has admitted working 22 hours a week for a $74,000-a-year pay packet is not running for cover from furious ratepayers.

"Only one person has contacted me - a columnist," Councillor Rick Curach told the Bay of Plenty Times early last night.

The councillor whose quirky 'Pick Rick' election signs made him one of the most identifiable faces in Tauranga, was a little curious by the public's lack of reaction to his admission.

Cr Curach expected more fallout from the declaration at a council meeting on Monday that he spent an average of 22 hours a week on council business. Admissions from other councillors ranged between 30 hours (Murray Guy) and up to 50 hours (Bill Grainger).

But when he arrived home yesterday, his phone was not running hot and his email inbox was not rumbling with discontent.

Cr Curach said that when he was first elected on to the council in 2001, his pay was about $30,000 and people did not expect it to be a full-time job. But then salaries started to leap up, helped by the councillors' pool of money being split in fewer ways as their numbers were reduced to 10.

He said his fellow councillors had been quite light hearted and joking when they viewed the Bay of Plenty Times story before a meeting yesterday.

Cr Curach said he has had no second thoughts about being so upfront with his declaration of hours spent on the job.

"It is my principles. If someone asks me a question, I give an honest answer."

Cr Curach said he had to be held to account and 22 hours was a figure that could be fully reconciled.

He said he disliked the public perception that councillors were such busy people that they did not have time to take calls at home.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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