Debate surrounding elected members potentially taking pay cuts amid the fallout of Covid-19 has prompted plenty of support in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.
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However, one city councillor has described the suggestion of making such pay reductions law as "offensive".
While the New Zealand Remuneration Authority dictates all elected members must receive 100 per cent of their allocated salary, although they can donate part of this, the Government was now considering a law change to this.
The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to 10 elected Tauranga City councillors. Of those, nine were willing to take a pay cut or make a donation either back into council coffers or to a charity. One was undecided, waiting on further information or preferring to keep their contribution private.
Of 13 Western Bay of Plenty District councillors spoken to, three were willing to take a pay cut or make a donation and 10 were undecided, waiting on further information or preferring to keep their contribution private.
Of the 11 Bay of Plenty Regional councillors who could be reached, four would take a pay cut or make a donation and seven were undecided.
Many were eager to point out that like the rest of society, the circumstances and salaries of elected members among the different councils varied. It might not be fair to have a "one-size-fits-all" mandatory pay cut for all.
At Tauranga City Council remuneration funds come from a pool of more than $1.1 million while Western Bay of Plenty District Council's members are paid from a pool of $479,232.
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said the salaries paid to councillors was $40,022 a year and "they earn every last cent".
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"Especially during this lockdown where many are significantly involved in direct community works, making sure that their constituents are getting access to food and medication.
"Furthermore, I am confident that councillors donate generously to those organisations they want to and far be it for council to direct them who to donate to."
Webber said there were no plans for now for executive team pay cuts and they were "working extremely hard under incredibly difficult circumstances".
Western Bay councillor Margaret Murray-Benge said elected members doing their part was something she felt strongly about and elected members earning more than $100,000 should have several reductions for at least six months.
"I was on $32,000. That has gone to $40,000, but I would be happy to go back to $32,000 and would expect other councillors to do the same. We all have to pull our weight in this regard."
In Tauranga, councillor Andrew Hollis said any legislation forcing elected members to take a pay cut would be "wrong".
"I think every single elected member has the opportunity to donate whatever amount of their salary to whatever charity or back into council coffers if they choose to. We don't really need a law change to allow us to do what we want with our salaries or decide if we want to show solidarity with our communities.
"For example, Western Bay councillors don't earn very much so to ask them to legislatively drop 20 per cent of their income is offensive."
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell has already canvassed elected members and the responses "have all been positive".
"I do intend to follow the Government's 20 per cent pay cut and am getting advice from Local Government New Zealand as to how that can occur under legislation."
Powell would leave each councillor to make their own decision.
Tauranga council chief executive Marty Grenfell said he would not require or request "any diminution of current remuneration from the executive team".
Bay of Plenty Regional councillor and vice-president of Local Government New Zealand Stuart Crosby said as a councillor, he intended to donate a portion of his salary to a charity "close to my heart".
"We're anticipating the Government to consider a change to remuneration law to allow councillor salaries to be voluntarily reduced. We expect some notice of that next week which will be helpful in this conversation up and down New Zealand.
"The other issue is elected members aren't like cabinet ministers or the Prime Minister in terms of salary range. My personal view is that it is their choice if they wish to make a donation to charity and if the Government does change the law to allow salaries to be reduced, that's their choice as well."
Chief executive Fiona McTavish said she was "incredibly proud" of her team for their show of leadership and solidarity in opting to donate 10 per cent of their salaries for a six-month period.
"We're exploring the Acorn Foundation as a vehicle to ensure the benefit of our donations is maximised and directed to those in our regional communities who have been most impacted by the current situation. The Acorn Foundation has established a Covid-19 rapid response fund that can deliver region-wide support."
The senior leadership team has also offered to forego any pay increase in the next financial year.
The regional council is also awaiting a remuneration authority determination on any changes to elected member salaries which it will consider at a future meeting.
By comparison, Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams described the suggestion of pay cuts for its executive team as "immoral".
On Thursday, he affirmed he did not want to see salary reductions for the council's executive team in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
"I fundamentally do not support a call to cut pays for the executive team.
"I am very fortunate to have around me an extremely committed, dedicated and hardworking executive team who are now working even harder as a result of the current situation," he said.