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Local Government stepping stone to Parliament sting

Local Government stepping stone to Parliament stinging ratepayers
17 AUGUST 2017

Ratepayers should not be paying councillors for one job while they are out campaigning for another, says the Taxpayers’ Union. At least four candidates in the three main centres are still enjoying salaries over $90,000 while they campaign for seats in Parliament. The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on them to follow the lead of Lawrence Yule and Adrienne Pierce, who have stepped down from their locally elected positions in the lead up to the general election.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director for the Taxpayers’ Union says, “Councillors are paid to be councillors and represent their local constituents, not campaign for a new job. Being a Councillor in a main centre like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch is clearly a full-time job, and councillors are remunerated with large salaries to reflect that."

Councillors standing for Parliament in the three main centres:

Wellington City Council has two elected members running for Parliament – Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle is running for Labour in Rongotai, and is drawing on a salary of $111,000. Cr Andy Foster is running in Wellington Central for NZ First, while also continuing to receive a a salary of $91,000.

In Auckland, Cr Denise Lee is running for the National Party in Maungakiekie whilst drawing on a salary of $107,599.

In Christchurch, Cr Raf Manji is contesting the Ilam seat whilst on a $102k salary.

"In the three centres alone ratepayers are up for more than a hundred thousands dollars paying for councillors who are away campaigning in the election regulated period," says Mr Williams. "At a minimum all four should be on unpaid leave."

“We commend the good example of Lawrence Yule and Adrienne Pierce, who both stepped down from their respective council roles for them to run for Parliament. Councillors in these main cities claim they can do both jobs – yet in Hastings, where being a councillor only takes a few days a week, a Councillor and the Mayor resigned. The question for the councillors who won't step down is, what makes them so special? Take our money, but not do the job?”

ENDS

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