By Bridget Rutherford

Men and women are almost evenly split when it comes to earning the big dollars at the Christchurch city and regional councils.

Figures released under the Local Government Information and Meetings Act show at Christchurch City Council, 10 women are paid between $160,000-$404,000, compared to 12 men.

Meanwhile, at Environment Canterbury, three women are paid more than $160,000, compared to two men.

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Of the city council's 1761 full-time staff, 853 are female.

Forty-six per cent of the city council's leadership positions, excluding elected members, are held by women.

Chief executive Karleen Edwards is the biggest earner, bringing in $403,397 annually.

Four women and four men are paid between $220,000-$300,000, while eight men and five women receive between $180,000-$220,000.

In the $160,000-$180,000 salary band, there are nine women, and 13 men. Those figures excluded elected members.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel earns $187,064, Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner is paid $116,243, while city councillors received $100,688. Four of the 16 city councillors - not including Ms Dalziel - are women.

Four-hundred and twenty-eight city council staff earn up to $60,000, 279 of them being women.

More women earn between $60,000-$80,000 than men at the city council. But of those paid between $80,000-$100,000, 156 are women, while 217 are men.

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One-hundred-and-seventy-eight men earn between $100,000-$120,000, compared to 75 women.

In the $120,000-$140,000 band, there are 36 women, compared to 86 men.

The gender pay gap has been a contentious issue this year, with a Human Rights Commission project released in March showing women earned $600,000 less on average than their male counterparts.

In comparison, out of the 601 Environment Canterbury staff, 303 are women. Chief Executive Bill Bayfield is the highest earner, getting $407,018.

Two women receive between $220,000-$299,999, compared to one man. One woman is paid between $180,000-$219,999.

The city council this month voted to adopt the Living Wage, which would see all its staff paid at least $20.20 an hour from the end of October.

It would cost $775,000 annually and benefit about 470 staff, who are currently paid below $20.20.