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3.7% Pay Rise For Ashbuton’s Mayor And Councillors

Ashburton’s mayor and councillors will receive an average 3.7% pay increase from July 1.

The mayor’s pay packet is set to increase by $4910 after the Remuneration Authority this week determined that mayors and councillors across the country will receive an average pay rise of 3.7% from July 1.

Local government pay is set by the independent body, which dictates the mayor and deputy salaries and the councillor remuneration pools that are funded by rates. Each council determines how that pool is distributed.

Ashburton mayor Neil Brown’s salary will increase from $132,690 to $137,600, which equates to $2646 per week or a $66 an-hour wage for a 40-hour week.

Brown said it is a full-time job that has no set hours - and wherever he goes he is the mayor.
“You are always the mayor, you are on 24 hours, seven days a week.

“You may not be working but you are always on call.”

The other mayor Brown, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, is the top-paid mayor with a $306,952 a year salary ($147.50 an hour) and the lowest rate for any Auckland councillor was $111,782.

Ashburton’s deputy mayor Liz McMillan’s salary increases from $80,003 to $82,963.

Ashburton has usually opted to have the eight councillors on the same salary, evenly dividing the remuneration pool.

Their salary will increase from $46,274 to $47,986 – which works out to $23 per hour.

First-term councillor Richard Wilson said the pay rise was outside of council control, but an increased rate encouraged more people to stand for council.

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“I don’t do the job for the money, I do it for the community.

“And I am fortunate I can afford to because my company can continue without me being there, but some others may not be in that position.”

Councillors don't work 40 hours in a regular week in Ashburton, but they do a lot more than just attend a council meeting every fortnight, he said.

Remuneration Authority chairperson Geoff Summers said the authority devised a sizing system for councils' remuneration after a full review in 2018 that considers four factors: population, total assets, total expenditure and socioeconomic deprivation.

Pay rates would be reviewed again using the latest data before local body elections next October, Summers said.

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