Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai has justified above-average pay rises for herself and councillors saying they do the job to serve the community and were not in it for the money.
Pay has been increased across the board for the mayor, deputy mayor, councillors and standing committee chair, in line with a determination from the Remuneration Authority.
Ms Mai has had a $4000 or 3.15 per cent increase, from $126,780 a year to $130,780, backdated to July 1. The yearly pay of deputy mayor Sharon Morgan rose 2.29 per cent or $1250, from $54,500 to $55,750. The salary of the chair of a standing committee also rose by 2.29 per cent or $1250, from $54,500 to $55,750. The salary of a councillor also increased 2.29 per cent, up $1000 to $44,600.
Councillors accepted the raise without discussion at last week's planning committee meeting.
According to Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index (Salary and Wage Rates) for the June 2014 quarter, salary and wage rates across the country for the previous 12 months increased by 1.2 per cent for the public sector, 1.7 per cent for the private sector and 1.6 per cent for all workers.
"Anyone who goes into this kind of job does it to serve the community. We aren't in it for the money," Ms Mai said.
"I aim to do a really good job so the community can see value in the investment it is making in me and the wider council."
Reimbursements available to elected members include costs of taxis, rental cars, travel and attendance at conferences, seminars, and training, communication equipment such as mobiles phones or PCs.
Northland PSA organiser Mark Furey said it would be nice if workers across Northland got a pay rise of over 2 per cent.
As a comparison, PSA national media adviser Asher Goldman said Northland DHB staff in the union were offered a 0.7 per cent increase last month, and Northland Department of Conservation staff in the union were offered a 1 per cent increase. Staff from both organisations were currently in bargaining, he said.
The Remuneration Authority is the independent body set up by Parliament to handle the remuneration of key office holders such as judges, Members of Parliament, local government representatives, and some individual office holders and board members of independent statutory bodies.