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Unwanted payrises forced on council

Last updated 18:40 16/05/2012

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Hutt Valley

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Upper Hutt city councillors have received and unwanted pay rise, after the Remuneration Authority refused to reconsider upping their salaries, but will likely give it away.

Last month, councillors voted unanimously to turn down more than $8600 in salary increases because of the tough economic times. Many said they could not accept more pay as their voters faced a 5.2 per cent rates spike.

The Remuneration Authority, which sets the salaries of politicians, has now told Upper Hutt city councillors it is unwilling to reconsider the amounts set for either the Mayor or the councillors.

At a meeting tonight, councillors were told they had the option to contribute their pay rise to a community relief fund.

Chairman John Errington said in a letter that the authority faced a number of conflicting responsibilities when establishing the new pay scale.

"Fairness to members and ratepayers are always a key element of our considerations, as is the effect of adverse economic circumstances.''

He said the authority took these matters into account and the pay level would be set as previously advised.

Mr Errington said today that Upper Hutt city council was the only one to have contacted the authority officially on the matter this year.

"It certainly happened about three years ago at the beginning of the economic crisis, a number of councils did request to have a zero increase."

He said at that stage the authority did agree to some councils as long as there was unanimous support.

The Authority had recommended a $4200 rise to $93,300 for mayor Wayne Guppy and $4434 to be split among the other 10 councillors for the 2012-13 financial year.

Councils are allowed to recommend against any increase in funding, but must accept the authority's final determination.

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- The Dominion Post

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