The jump in allocations for local councilor salaries, decreed by the Remuneration Authority, has attracted attention around the country, but in Kapiti where the base level was modest to start with, the difference isn’t massive. It’s a bit different in Wellington. According to this article on the NZ Herald website

WCC coat of armsIt’s a bit awkward when one of the first things you vote on as a city councillor is for your own pay rise.

The base salary for councillors has increased from $86,874 to $111,225.

The deputy mayor and Strategy and Policy Committee chair get more in their pay packet. Foster takes home $180,500.

The Remuneration Authority set the council’s most recent pool of money for salaries at just over $1.5m. It’s money that can’t be refused with Foster describing the situation as a “luxury vote”.

Councillor Malcolm Sparrow made a point of saying he thought the pay increase was too large.

Foster acknowledged it was a significant increase and encouraged councillors to go out into the community and earn it.

But he also noted to councillors the “joys of the job” being they had to pay their ACC levies both as an employee and an employer, they did not get superannuation or KiwiSaver and were taxed at 33 per cent.

“And then of course the redundancy provisions are spectacular.”

At the end of the day, if councillors are really worried about how much they’re earning they can always give the increase away to organisations or charities as they see fit. It’s their money.

Unlike in Kapiti, those councillor salaries are compatible with what mid-level Wellington City Council staffers get according to this webpage

The main difference between the two councils is of course that Wellington has 4 times the population (and has only two community boards — Tawa and Makara-Ohariu Valley), so those quite generous salaries may be seen as appropriate; at the least, they should be more than ample for the role to be a full time one.

In Kapiti, Cr Gwynn Compton says he has now reduced his work hours at Beef + Lamb NZ to three days a week with the other two being spent in Kapiti. Financially, he says, it works out much the same for him.