Council approves pay rises

The Dunedin City Council has decided not to follow in Prime Minister John Key's footsteps and urge the Remuneration Authority to freeze the pay of politicians.

At a council meeting yesterday, a motion by Cr Teresa Stevenson to write to the authority seeking no increase in councillors' pay next year gained the support of Crs Syd Brown, Paul Hudson, Andrew Noone and Kate Wilson, but was voted down by 10 other councillors.

The council was considering a report that the authority, in December, had signalled a "modest" increase of $20,757 to be shared among Dunedin's 51 elected members.

The authority set the mayor's pay at $128,091 [up $3799] and the council yesterday approved pay increases for other elected members - deputy mayor $60,895.65 [up $1232.65], committee chairs $50,747.98 [up $1028.98], deputy chairs $42,645.90 [up $870.90], councillors $40,592.30 [up $817.30], community board chairs $16,332.42 [up $332.42], community board deputy chairs $9189.95 [up $189.95] and community board members $8166.20 [up $166.20].

The report to the council noted the authority's "preference" was that the increases be "fully allocated" by councils on the basis the increase was conservative and it wanted to avoid unusually large or catch-up style increases in the future.

Cr Richard Walls described the increases as "modest".

"We have no option but to take it.

''But individual councillors can dispose of it as they wish."

Cr Stevenson suggested writing to the authority seeking no increase next year because of the recession.

Cr John Bezett considered local authorities would need to act together to influence the authority and suggested a remit to the Local Government Association would be a better approach.

Cr Neil Collins suggested councillors "accept what is yours by law" and give what they wanted to charity.

The authority is independent.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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