Southern mayors to receive a pay rise

Dave Cull
Dave Cull

Southern mayors are set for a pay rise after the agency which sets local government salaries determined the role of a mayor is a full-time job.

The Remuneration Authority, the government agency which sets the pay scale for New Zealand's mayors and councillors, has recommended mayoral salaries be based on the job being a full-time role.

Southland and Otago mayors will receive a pay rise of between 2.8% and 12% for the 2018-19 year.

Mayoral pay packages will now range from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull's salary of $157,798 to $82,677 for Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks.

It is the first time the authority has stipulated mayoral salaries should be based on the role being a full-time one, though there were no rules stopping mayors from working outside of their duties.

The pay rates are set according the size of the councils.

Mr Cull, who is also the president of Local Government New Zealand, said he did not know of a mayoral role which was not full-time.

"Even on those really small councils the same jobs need to be done, and they don't leave a lot of time for very much else,'' he said.

Southern councillors will also receive a pay rise of between 1.5% and 7.6%.

The increases are partly due to the remuneration agency trying to realign all councils based on the size of the population they serve.

Councillors can earn more if they are the head of council committees or portfolios.

Changes are also being made to the way councillor pay rates are set.

From 2019 a pool of funding would be allocated to each council, which would allow councillors, except mayors, to set their own pay rates.

Mr Cull said it was important local government pay-rates were still set by an independent body, but providing councils some flexibility on how the money was spent was a good thing.

In most areas, particularly in cities, the role of councillor could also be considered a full-time job, he said.

"It's not perfect and you can make the argument that if an elected official is spending 30% of their time on council business, it is very difficult to hold down a salaried job.''

There would be some issues with smaller councils, which had to spread the "pot'' over a large number of councillors.

The remuneration authority had to try to balance offering fair pay to councillors with the impact their salaries had on rate payers, which was harder in smaller districts, Mr Cull said.

Local government 2018-19 renumeration (% increase)

Dunedin City Council
 • Mayor $157,798 (5.7%)
 • Deputy mayor $77,316 (5.4%)
 • Councillor $59,474 (5.7%)

Invercargill City Council
 • Mayor $126,562 (9.8%)
 • Deputy mayor $55,019 (1.5%)
 • Councillor $35,693(1.5%)

Southland District Council
 • Mayor $113,742 (7.2%)
 • Deputy mayor $37,380 (2%)
 • Councillor $26,700 (2%)

Queenstown Lakes District Council
 • Mayor $118,079 (2.8%)
 • Deputy mayor $41,587 (1.8%)
 • Councillor $33,538 (1.8%)

Waitaki District Council
 • Mayor $101,840 (7.9%)
 • Deputy mayor $33,976 (4.8%)
 • Councillor $24,269 (4.8%)

Clutha District Council
 • Mayor $96,695 (8%)
 • Deputy mayor $28,070 (3.4%)
 • Councillor $20,050 (3.4%)

Central Otago District Council
 • Mayor $96,484 (7.6%)
 • Deputy mayor $23,016 (2.9%)
 • Councillor $21,240 (2.9%)

Gore District Council
 • Mayor $82,677 (12%)
 • Deputy mayor $25,188 (7.6%)
 • Councillor $18,157 (7.6%)



The Gap between Mayor and Deputy is way to big, there is no way Dunedin rate payers, Tax payers call it what ever you want, should be finding all the salary if they do other jobs such as LGNZ VP there is noway Mayors councillors etc should have other businesses without having it out on the table and approved by some authority and being reviewed bi annually. Cull or any mayor should not be getting a full wage if paid a full salary by Dunedin because they are not giving 100% to the the town. If the Mayor is past retirement age then it is proof they are doing the job for the love of it and not the money therefore they should only be getting the pension.