$70,000 pay boost for council boss

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2011
Marryatt
THE PRESS
FESTIVE BONUS: Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt has received a $68,000 bonus.
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Christmas has come early for a controversial Christchurch chief executive whose salary has skyrocketed to more than $500,000.

Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt has received a $68,129 pay rise, taking his salary from $470,400 to $538,529 a year, effective from July 1 this year.

Councillors voted on the 14.4 per cent increase in a public-excluded session after a council meeting on Thursday.

The vote divided councillors seven votes to five, with some calling the rise "appalling" and others saying Marryatt was important for the city rebuild.

Bob Parker, Ngaire Button, Aaron Keown, Jamie Gough, Sue Wells, Barry Corbett and Claudia Reid voted in favour of the increase.

Tim Carter, Glenn Livingstone, Sally Buck, Jimmy Chen, Helen Broughton and Yani Johanson voted against it.

Marryatt has been controversial, with Christchurch business leaders raising concerns over his operating style and questioning his reappointment process.

He was criticised for his involvement in the Ellerslie International Flower Show purchase, the proposed Arts Centre music conservatorium and the $17 million purchase of five properties owned by developer David Henderson.

Mayor Bob Parker said Marryatt was being remunerated appropriately for an "incredibly stressful, powerful and important job crucial to the future of Christchurch".

Marryatt's remuneration increase was in line with other city chief executives, Parker said, including Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton ($500,000) and Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates ($490,000-$499,000).

"I don't think anyone would argue his job is significantly smaller in scope than any of those ... He's handling an annual budget of $2 billion. He is going to oversee a rebuild of $5.5b of infrastructure and facilities that the council is directly involved in,'' Parker said.

"He has got an enormously important job. Within the hands of Tony Marryatt and Roger Sutton very much lies the future of our city."

Marryatt's annual salary package has increased 45 per cent during his four years at the council, rising from $370,825 to $538,529.

Button said the pay increase was relative to the market, and Marryatt's job had "increased phenomenally".

"I believe we need him. He's an important part of the recovery and his performance review was amazing,'' she said. ''Christchurch is going to need to increase pay rates across the board to keep good people here."

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Livingstone called the increase "appalling", given many Christchurch people suffered financial hardship.

"Roger Sutton has taken a pay cut to take his job and Tony Marryatt is taking a pay rise. There are a lot of people giving up a lot in the community to help in the recovery,'' he said.

"A lot of people have not had a pay rise in the community, and those who have, it's no way near 14 per cent."

Many ratepayers would be upset at the increase, he said.

"He's getting more than the prime minister and more than Roger Sutton ... Roger Sutton has the more important job, and I think we all know that," he said.

Johanson said he did not feel the pay increase was appropriate, given global crises and the situation in Christchurch.

"Using comparative pay to set remuneration is really unsustainable – you create a never-ending upwards spiral."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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