Chiefs for supersized Auckland named

The newly appointed heads of some of the most powerful local body organisations in the country will pick up $1.4 million in fees between them.

Among those hand-picked by the Government as directors of the seven council-controlled organisations (CCOs) that will run much of the new supersized Auckland are former deputy prime minister Sir Don McKinnon, arts patron Dame Jenny Gibbs, former MP, broadcaster and head of Tainui Tukoroirangi Morgan and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

The full list of directors was publicly released today by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide and Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

But the man who will have most power is Mark Ford.

He will be chairman of Auckland Transport, responsible for deciding how Auckland's troubled road network will develop, and running a staff of about 1020, with $1.5 billion in assets, and annual revenue of $1.36 billion, controlling half of all rates paid to the super-city.

Mr Ford is currently chairman of the Auckland Transition Agency, the organisation overseeing the creation of the Auckland super-city.

Mr Hide said the directors were "the elite in their respective fields".

"The Government has been fortunate in being able to appoint men and women of such high calibre. In New Zealand, we have a small, but rich, pool of talent, and these are people whose talents would be welcome anywhere in the world. What is more, they are all Aucklanders."

He said 200 nominations were received for the 31 roles.

Mr Joyce said he was "very impressed" with the Auckland Transport board.

The appointments are for a term of between one and three years. The Auckland council will be able to appoint between one and three additional directors to each of the boards once it is elected.

The Auckland CCOs are: Auckland Council Investments, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Regional Facilities Auckland, Auckland Council Property, Auckland Waterfront Development Agency and Auckland Transport.

Mr Ford will be paid $105,000, his deputy $66,625 and three other directors $52,500 each.

The waterfront agency chairman, Mr Harvey, will get $80,000, his deputy $50,000 and three others $40,000 each.

Sir Don will chair the regional facilities agency and, along with all other chairmen, will get $70,000. His deputy will be Dame Jenny, who gets $43,750, along with other deputies. Mr Morgan will be a director on the property agency and, like all other directors, will be paid $35,000.

An eighth agency, Watercare, is not affected until June 2012. Its existing board will stay in place, with no further appointments announced.