Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Mayoral candidates' views on council pay rises

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Rotorua Lakes Council building. 4 February 2016 Daily Post Photograph by Stephen Parker RGP 05Feb16 - RGP 06Feb16 - CONVENIENT: Politicians use the concept of "democracy" to justify
Rotorua Lakes Council building. 4 February 2016 Daily Post Photograph by Stephen Parker RGP 05Feb16 - RGP 06Feb16 - CONVENIENT: Politicians use the concept of "democracy" to justify

Rotorua's mayor and councillors received a 2 per cent pay rise at the start of this month.

Mayor Steve Chadwick this week told the Rotorua Daily Post the annual pay rises were a "fair reflection" of what she and most district councillors put into their jobs.

The independent Remuneration Authority - formerly known as the Higher Salaries Commission - set the new pay rises across New Zealand with mayors and councillors receiving 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.

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 decides whether we stay or we go."

We asked Rotorua's six other mayoral candidates what they thought of the pay rises.

Rangimarie Kingi:

"For this nurse and politician [Steve Chadwick], it should be cut.

"Yes, it's too much. Why? It's a paramount leadership instruction of the tongue - in a chain of command order.

"By number of people listed, that chain of direct command is broken.

"As for councillors - shouldn't they get paid according to their leadership?

"I call for pay cuts all round - over due."

Dr Reynold Macpherson:

"The mayor judges the pay rises are a "fair reflection" of what she and district councillors put into their jobs. True, in general.

"But in my view some come to meetings late and woefully under prepared, make very uneven contributions, leave early and are often away on trips.

"Performance evaluation, or voting, starts in 49 days."

Mark Gould

"The increases for elected officials is not appropriate at this time due to the elections on October 8.

"At the last election 12 councillors were elected for the whole of Rotorua.

"At present the system is unfair and not treated equal [sic].

"The mayor's increase is too large for the residents of Rotorua to accept, in my view.

"The community board members in my opinion are not paid enough.

"As a councillor this time the increases in dollar amounts were not voted on at council. Previous times when voted at council meetings I voted against any increase.

"In my opinion there should have not been any increase in mayor or councillors payments, but an increase for community board members."

Rob Kent

"At least I agree with 'hard to put a value on public service by elected members as some worked harder than others and salaries were not performance-based'.

"It is unfortunate in this day and age that we are still saddled by antiquated bureaucratic methods of determining public sector remuneration, such as paying higher salaries based upon "population served" and "council expenditure".

"One would have thought that by now the politicians would have seen the obvious flawed outcome in this argument which is on a par with paying local authority chief executives based upon how many people they employed, and giving them sole responsibility for how many they employed."

Frances Louis

"The mayor's salary for Rotorua is not enough.

"The Rotorua mayor should be given the same amount as the Wellington mayor. It's wrong for one area to receive a different amount.

"Cap all the mayors' pay and don't let any mayor be higher or greater than the other.

"Our town is worth its weight in gold and I want our mayor to receive the same amount as Celia Wade-Brown [$170,317].

"If Wellington councillors get $81,200 and let it be so with our Rotorua Lakes Council."

John Rakei-Clark

"My concerns at this moment is not on what our mayor is doing. If our council passed it, then it is done, good people need incentives.

"My campaign is about outstanding excellence.

"We have enormous changes coming to RotoVegas - our polytech students, unemployment, housing, progressive future investments - let's work on designing Rotorua and making it more self-sustaining.

"We have so much to offer all citizens, why aren't we talking about that?"

- Rotorua Daily Post

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