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Remuneration Report Welcomed By Local Government

Remuneration Report Welcomed By Local Government New Zealand

15 April 2002

Local Government New Zealand today said it welcomed the Higher Salaries Commission (HSC) discussion document on elected members’ remuneration and the proposal for a more objective approach.

Chief Executive Peter Winder said that the proposal not only provides a welcome ‘de-politicisation’ of elected members’ remuneration but that the HSC review clearly demonstrates that elected members have been well underpaid for quite some time.

‘Elected representatives are crucial for the ongoing wellbeing and good governance of all communities. Local Government New Zealand has long been seeking a change to the current ‘subjective’ system of remuneration and the one proposed in this document will generate much debate and interest. It provides an excellent starting point for informed discussion. This can only be considered a good thing for the governance of New Zealand communities,’ Mr Winder said.

‘The role of an elected representative is not well understood and this objective analysis of the ‘job’ provided by the HSC will help increase understanding of the role these elected representatives play - such as the fact that most Mayors work full time, are on call 24 hours a day and the role as town/city ‘figurehead’. Mayors, for example, are usually the first person people turn to for reassurance and leadership in a local emergency or public interest issue and this can happen at any time. They must always be accessible and available as well as managing the assets and activity of the communities they represent’, Mr Winder said.

Mr Winder noted that councils in New Zealand own over $47 billion worth of assets and that it is the elected representatives of all 86 councils who must oversee these on behalf of their communities.

Mr Winder welcomes the opportunity to comment on the discussion document and encourages all councils and communities to consider this proposal closely and make comment to the HSC by June.

Ends

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