Rotorua mayor says this week's pay rises are a "fair reflection" of what she and district councillors put into their jobs.
Steve Chadwick and councillors received a 2 per cent pay rise from the independent Remuneration Authority.
The Authority's salary determination for elected members for the 2016/17 period came into force on July 1 with the new salary rates being paid from yesterday and backdated to the start of the month.
The Authority - formerly known as the Higher Salaries Commission - sets the remuneration, being the salary, certain allowances and superannuation for key office holders such as mayors, chairpersons, councillors and community board members. It is required by law to be fair and independent.
It sets pay rates based on a number of factors including the population served by councils, council expenditure, and through a "pay sizing" exercise that takes into account similar pay rates in other organisations, the amount of work expected by elected members and any additional responsibilities.
Across New Zealand mayors and councillors received pay increases of between 1.5 and 3 per cent.
Mrs Chadwick received a $2573 annual pay rise, that includes an additional $3654 for the mayoral car, for a total of $127,569.
Committee chairwomen Janet Wepa and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait will now receive $49,852, an increase of $977, and deputy chairpeople will now receive $45,517.
Long serving councillor Trevor Maxwell, the council's cultural adviser, will receive $45,517, an increase of $892.
Members of the Rotorua Lakes Community Board also received a pay rise.
Remuneration for Te Tatau o Te Arawa board members is decided by the board themselves. Board member fees are allocated from their annual funding agreement of $250,000.
After this year's election there will be two fewer councillors so the additional responsibilities allowances set by council will be allocated between 10 councillors rather than 12.
Mrs Chadwick said it was hard to put a value on public service by elected members as some worked harder than others and salaries were not performance-based.
"But it's a fair reflection of what we put into the job and thank goodness it's set by the Remuneration Authority and not by politicians.
"There's no real fair way to assess this. You put yourself on the line for the biggest job appraisal every three years and the constituency decide whether we stay or we go.
"This job used to be seen as a community service, it is no longer that, as it is a professional job if you approach it with due diligence and everything else that goes along with it.
"There are lot of diplomatic things outside of council and you are not paid for that. But, it's not just turning up at meetings and reading agendas, you have to be active and hands on."
She said some people would always think councillors were paid too much.
"I don't expect them to know how comprehensive the job actually is. But they can see how we all perform by coming to meetings or watching those meetings online."
By way of comparison, Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown now receives $170,317 and councillors receive at least $81,200.
In Tauranga, councillors receive a minimum of $71,094 a year, and last year mayor Stuart Crosby earned $144,188.
Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams was paid $294,545 last year.