Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

I Don’t Believe Local Politicians Are In it For the Money

From Hayley Robinson

I Don’t Believe Local Politicians Are In it For the Money.

The Dominion Post recently reported that our city councillors are to receive a nearly 9 percent pay-rise. As someone who has recently announced they will be standing for said council, I read this with interest and some bemusement.

I thought the arguments put forward sounded very logical and fair (wait for the ‘but’) with the paper stating that “Local Government New Zealand chairman Lawrence Yule welcomed the new pay system, as elected officials were finding it increasingly difficult to hold down other employment…” Mr Yule went on to point out that current and potential councillors may have to “give up other career options, or significant family life, or significant other things they're doing…..We're struggling to attract quality candidates ... it gives potential candidates certainty ..."

The problem is, all those things apply equally to any employment situations that have a social giving aspect. A good comparison is teaching. Some teachers work fifty hours a week: I’m sure they want more time with their families; and I can tell you as someone who has taught, that the current level of councillor remuneration did not deter me in the slightest. Candidates are not going to try for this job on the basis of dollars. This is something people do out of a sense of duty and care.

In an ideal world, local government would ‘attract’ candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds in order that Wellingtonians be well represented. I think it is (I’m sure unintentionally) a little insulting to infer that ‘quality’ candidates would come from employment fields where they earn more than a councillor currently does. A small business owner, a nurse or an economics professor could all bring valuable contributions. Its diversity that matters.

Personally, I’d like it if the pay of all elected government officials were simply linked to the nation average when it comes to rises. My personal convictions mean that, if I were elected, I would not feel comfortable with this increase, and would be looking to gift the after-tax difference to organisations that work to help with affordable or emergency housing in our city. This is a personal (and family) decision and should not be inflicted on any other person.

I’d also like to point out that many councillors do spend time now on non-paid work (including parenting) and on volunteering for their communities. I hope that we will see fair and accurate media coverage for both incumbent councillors, and new candidates in the lead up to this year’s Wellington City Council election. May the best women and men win. I would like to encourage all Wellingtonians to vote, not necessarily for me, but for anyone whose ideas and methods they believe in.

Let’s work together for Wellington.

Hayley Robinson.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Ch-Ch-Changes At IRD

job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation, which seems to work rather like a secular version of the Rapture.

Except that at IRD, not even your shoes will be left behind. More>>

 

Christchurch Mental Health: Hospital Too 'Awful' For Reviewers To Visit

Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark... More>>

ALSO:

Greens Call For Govt Action: Children Sick Because Of NZ Housing

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect said today that children with preventable respiratory illnesses are being re-admitted to hospital because they're being sent back to cold, damp homes. More>>

ALSO:

Less Tax Cut, More Spending: Labour Launches Fiscal Plan

“Labour will invest $8 billion more in health, $4 billion more in education and $5 billion more for Kiwi families through Working for Families, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment than the Budget 2017 projections for the forecast period.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Greens’ Room For Political Pragmatism

The Greens here are currently being criticized by the commentariat for not making the same kind of pragmatic choices that sunk the Democrats in Australia. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Being Humane About Welfare, Child Support, And Tax

It made for an unusual Venn diagram, but Greens co-leader Metiria Turei and Finance Minister Steven Joyce were briefly sharing some common elements this week in the set that says – hey, don’t use the powers of the state in ways guaranteed to make the system you’re trying to defend worse, not better. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election