A pay dispute between the Wanaka Community Board and the
Queenstown Lakes District Council has been settled for now -
somewhat reluctantly on the Wanaka board's part.
The pay rates will be reviewed again in June and the board
members intend to raise the issue then.
Three of the four affected board members met Queenstown Lakes
Mayor Vanessa van Uden last week to discuss the council's
finance manager Stewart Burns' recommendation to remove them
from standing committees and reduce their annual salaries
from $17,688 to $12,249.
The four board members voted against the recommendation in
November, forcing the council to address the issue before
voting on the recommendation in February.
Board member Mike O'Connor confirmed this week he and his
colleagues had agreed to resolve the issue and "roll our
sleeves up and get on with it". He said they felt they had
inherited a problem from the previous council, which had
appointed board members to council committees to alleviate
As a newly elected board member, he was aware re-elected
board members Ken Copland and Dick Kane were disappointed to
lose their committee jobs. He voted with them because "the
team should stick together".
Nobody had known, prior to the election, that the incoming
council was going to reduce the size of the committees and
that board members would lose some of their workloads.
The board still had plenty of work to do, sorting out
Wanaka's sports field sites and other issues, he said.
Deputy board chairman Bryan Lloyd, another fresh face on the
board this year, said he also supported the experienced board
members and felt it was a shame that the workloads had been
He accepted in principle the mayor's argument for cutting the
pay but felt the board members had been harshly treated.
"The whole thing is open to review in June. We must supply
evidence, [then] analyse the amount of time we actually put
in, to convince the people who need convincing," Mr Lloyd
Board member Dick Kane said he had reluctantly accepted the
decision but felt "chopped off at the knees" after learning
he could no longer work on the utilities committee.
He also feared being left out of the loop now he would have
less contact with staff, councillors and community board
chairman Lyal Cocks.
Mr Kane felt if savings had to be made by cutting community
board salaries, the difference should be returned to the
ratepayers rather than added to councillors' salaries, which
had increased from $28,077 last term to $29,444.
Mr Copland agreed the committee work had been valuable in
terms of keeping in touch with councillors.
Board candidates should have been entitled to know the
workloads would be cut before they stood for election, he
"We've gone back to being just Wanaka people again, rather
than being part of the bigger picture," he said.