Wellington International Airport directors' fees will rise by 29 per cent if the shareholders of its parent company, Infratil, approve a package of fee increases next month.
Nationally, average wages rose just more than 2 per cent in the past year.
Late last month, the airport was accused by some people of "revenue gathering" in its plans to restrict motorist access to the airport, with one saying the company was the "meanest" in the country.
Motorists dropping off friends or relatives will have to take a ticket from a barrier and get out again within five minutes or they will be charged for overstaying.
Airlines have also accused the airport of using its monopoly position to raise landing fees by more than half over the next five years to $86 million a year, which airlines say will lead to higher fares.
The airport is 34 per cent owned by Wellington City Council. The remainder is held by Infratil, a Wellington-based utilities investment company.
Directors' fees would increase from $260,250 to $335,500, in part to cover a sixth director. The airport board includes Infratil executive Tim Brown, who is in hospital after being run over by a city bus last week.
The board's audit committee would also receive an additional $12,000 a year to compensate its three members for extra work required to meet Commerce Commission disclosure requirements for airports.
Wellington City Council has two directors - deputy mayor Ian McKinnon and independent corporate adviser Keith Sutton - on the board.
The directors' fees are part of a package of fee increases that Infratil shareholders will vote on at the company's annual meeting on August 13 in Christchurch.
If approved, fees paid to Infratil's five member board as well as directors on its subsidiary companies will increase by $207,599 to a maximum of nearly $3.2 million.
The directors say in a notice to the NZX that they have “considered the experience and responsibility of the directors, the size and scope of the company, the level of governance and the consequent time commitment” in recommending the increases.
Infratil's directors would collectively receive a $25,000 pay rise, or 3.7 per cent, to a total of $705,000.
That is on top of a collective $20,000 rise last year.
The total fees payable to Infratil directors who also serve on the boards of subsidiary companies, however, would be reduced by just over $88,000 to a maximum of a little over $1m.
Infratil chairman David Newman said the proposed fees put Infratil “slightly below the middle of the pack” of similar-sized companies for directors' remuneration.
“Given the increased responsibility of directors, the ever increasing complexity of the group . . . the increase is justifiable,” Newman said. “We have got to be conscious that we have a small board and we work our directors hard.”
Infratil's share price has risen from $1.69 last August to $2.04 yesterday. Infratil was trying to avoid double digit increases which occurred if fees were not reviewed each year, Newman said.
The biggest rise in fees would be for boards of Infratil's subsidiary companies. Those fees would increase by a total of 16 per cent, or $295,786 to more than $2.1m, mainly to cover the cost of an extra director at Wellington International Airport, Lumo Energy Australia and Infratil Energy Australia, taking their number from five directors to six on each.
Newman said the average increase for subsidiary directors would be about 3 per cent.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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