The next Kaipara mayor will be the biggest beneficiary from a recently-approved pay rise for elected officials, taking home just over $12,000 more than what the incumbent is currently earning.

Mayor Jason Smith's pay is $106,905 but after the local government election in October, the newly-sworn mayor will be paid $119,000— an increase of 11 per cent.

The Remuneration Authority externally sets the pay for local government officials, as well as senior civil servants such as MPs, judges and former prime ministers.

In the 2019/20 financial year, the authority has determined that the next Whangārei mayor be paid $156,000 per annum from the current $148,351 while the Far North mayor will get $5000 more or $155,000.

Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai will receive $156,000 if she is re-elected to the position after the upcoming election. Photo / Supplied
Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai will receive $156,000 if she is re-elected to the position after the upcoming election. Photo / Supplied

The next Northland Regional Council chair will sit on $126,500— up nearly $4500— from the current $122,056.

Following a review, the authority has made changes to the way pay rates for local government officials are set.

It has adopted a set of revised and updated size of each council's governance role based on a number of indicators.

The size rankings are not related to the number of councillors on any council and will not be affected if councillor numbers increase or decrease in future.

A local government pay scale has been created, generally using parliamentary remuneration as a comparator.

The second change is in the way the authority sets remuneration for councillors, including deputy mayors and committee chairs.

Under the system used for the past several years, the authority has set a base councillor rate for each council then a sum equal to the base pay of two councillors to pay extra remuneration to those undertaking positions of responsibility, such as deputy mayors or chairpersons of committees.

In each case, the councils themselves make recommendations to the authority on how the pool should be allocated, and those recommendations are then considered by the authority before making its determination.


Under the new approach, the authority has created a total "governance remuneration pool" for each council, reflecting the ranking of that council and the total amount available for councillors.

When new councils are sworn in, they will be invited to give the authority recommendations on how its pool should be distributed among the councillors.

The recommendations will include a rate for base councillor remuneration and rates for all positions of responsibility.

The authority will then consider the councils' recommendations before determining the remuneration payable to members.

WDC has been allocated $815,063 for the deputy mayor, councillors and committee chairs, FNDC $707,201, KDC $359,424 while NRC got $580,951.

Pay packet for the next Northland mayors and NRC chair
* Whangārei mayor $156,000
* Kaipara mayor $119,000
* Far North mayor $155,000
* NRC chair $126,500

Remuneration pools for councillors
* NRC $580,951
* WDC $815,063
* FNDC $707,201
* KDC $359,424