Campaign against Marryatt's rise grows

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2012
Gina Payne
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

PROTEST: Gina Payne and dog Zeke yesterday distribute pamphlets in Opawa opposing Tony Marryatt's pay rise.

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A group opposing Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt's pay rise has distributed leaflets to city households before a protest that it hopes will attract thousands of frustrated residents.

No Pay Rise for Tony Marryatt was formed last month after the council announced the controversial chief executive would get a $68,000 salary increase.

The group, which has more than 900 members on social networking website Facebook, has been handing out thousands of fliers promoting a protest at the council's Hereford St offices on February 1.

Protest organiser Peter Lynch said residents had donated money and time to produce and distribute the leaflets, while others had taken matters into their own hands.

"Some people have been downloading the fliers, going to photocopy shops and using their own private money to print them out. It's just blown me away."

Lynch said news of Marryatt's pay increase was "the final straw" for earthquake-hit residents who were sick of the "dysfunctional" council.

"People are no longer apathetic in Christchurch. They're far more informed, they want to do something and they see this as the catalyst."

He said group organisers were planning their strategy for the protest and hoped the rally would draw thousands of people.

Opawa resident Gina Payne, one of the volunteers handing out leaflets, said she had offered her time after reading a story about Marryatt's pay increase.

"It was making me so angry and I thought that rather than just sitting around and being angry, I should do something positive."

She said most residents she had spoken to while delivering leaflets were already aware of the protest, with many planning to attend.

Marryatt has defended his pay rise.

It was based on market rates and was appropriate for his level of performance, he said.

His 14.4 per cent pay rise was announced on December 18, taking his salary from $470,400 to $538,529, effective from July 1 last year.

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- The Press

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