Tony Marryatt has defended his $68,000 pay rise amid calls for the Christchurch City Council's chief executive to reject the 14.4 per cent pay increase.
Mr Marryatt has seen his pay leap from $470,400 to $535,529, following a private vote by city councillors on December 15.
The pay rise has been met with outrage by ratepayers who question the decision to award an increase while so many of Christchurch's residents remain in limbo having lost their homes in the succession of earthquakes that have rattled the city.
The "No pay rise for Tony Marryatt" Facebook page has 623 members and another protest against the increase is planned for February 1 outside the council offices.
Mr Marryatt told the Press he would not refuse the pay rise as he felt it was appropriate remuneration for the job, which had grown "immensely" since the earthquakes.
"Any time I have a pay increase there is always negative comment because for most people what I earn is an exorbitant salary and any per centage increase on an already-large salary gets to a sizeable amount. I earn more than the average wage and I accept that. I have a bigger job than the average job."
Mr Marryatt also hit back at criticism for not returning from his holiday on the Gold Coast when the December 22 earthquakes struck the city.
"Where were those people when after February I didn't take a weekend off for nine weeks? I have worked exceedingly hard this year. I have never worked as hard in my life. I was stuffed. I needed a break," he told the Press.
Mr Marryatt said he told his family he was probably going to have to return to the city after the two large quakes before Christmas, but after reading "three or four" situation reports made the decision not to return as the situation "was under control".
Mr Marryatt said he had two homes which had been damaged by the Canterbury quakes and was committed to the city, despite his wife relocating to Hamilton to run her business.
"This has not been an enjoyable year for us. We are not sleeping. We are all working harder. Our houses are bloody stuffed and we don't know when our houses are going to be fixed.
"I think this whole city is under stress and I accept that i(the pay rise) has upset a number of people."
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who voted in favour of his pay increase, last month told the Herald the pay increase is in line with the pay of other chief executives in similar positions, and recognised the heavy responsibility Mr Marryatt has been carrying after the quakes.
- NZ HERALD ONLINE