Deputy mayor set for biggest pay rise

By Don Farmer don.farmer@age.co.nz -
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Viv Napier will see her salary increased to $28,428. PHOTO/FILE
Viv Napier will see her salary increased to $28,428. PHOTO/FILE

Pay rises for South Wairarapa District councillors were rubber stamped at a council meeting in Martinborough this week with the biggest hike being for the salary of the deputy mayor.

The salaries for councillors are set by the Remuneration Authority with little discretion given to local authorities over what should be paid to individual, elected members.

Mayor Adrienne Staples, who is retiring from the job in October, will be handing over the reins to a new mayor who will receive $71,070 a year, an increase of just over $2000 on the existing salary.

The salary paid to the deputy mayor, a position held at this stage by mayoral candidate Viv Napier, sees the largest percentage increase going from $22,820 to $28,428.

This has come about primarily as a result of rule changes made by the Remuneration Authority.

A few years back the authority set rules which capped the deputy mayor's salary at no more than an additional 40 per cent on the base salary paid to councillors.

Prior to the cap being put in place the South Wairarapa District Council had traditionally paid the deputy mayor 40 per cent of the mayor's salary, and the cap meant the deputy mayor's salary actually dropped.

With the cap now off the council resolved to return to its old formula of paying the deputy mayor which Mrs Staples said yesterday councillors believed "better reflects the workload of a good deputy".

Mrs Napier was not in the council chamber to take part in the discussion or voting on the resolution which saw her salary increased.

Other councillors are to receive an increase of $489 a year, bringing their yearly pay up to $16,789 a year.

Councillor Colin Olds will receive an extra allowance for his work on the Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee which is 50 per cent of the external members fee or $3000 a year, whichever is the greater.

External Whaitua members are now receiving $5000 a year from the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Mr Olds an extra $2700 from the district council over and above his council salary.

The regional council is expected to soon increase external members payments to $6000 a year, hence the district council's decision to frame Mr Olds increase in the way it did.

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