Councillors to give up directors' fees

23:14, Nov 27 2013
Ali Jones
MISCOMMUNICATION: Councillor Ali Jones.

The directors' fees paid to Christchurch City councillors who sit on the board of the council's holding company will go to charity.

Each term four councillors get appointed sit on the board of Christchurch City Holdings Ltd (CCHL) and traditionally receive hefty directors' fees on top of their council salaries.

Last year those fees amounted to an extra $37,275 a year for each of the council directors.

RAF STD
NEW APPROACH: Raf Manji.

But in an 11 to 2 vote councillors have agreed the directors' fees paid to councillors on the CCHL board will go to the Mayor's Welfare Fund.

The only councillors who opposed the move were councillors Ali Jones and David East.

Jones said she believed that councillors appointed to the board of CCHL should get paid extra because they were taking on additional work and responsibility.

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"I am uncomfortable with the suggestion it should automatically be paid into the Mayoral Welfare Fund,'' Jones said.

But financial committee chairman Cr Raf Manji said the $90,000 salary councillors received was sufficient and he did not believe they should expect more. It was common practice for companies to appoint employees to sit on boards as part of their jobs and the council should be no different.

Inquiries he had made suggested directors of CCHL put in around 170 hours work a year. If the directors' fee of $37,275 was paid that would mean they would be getting paid at a rate of $217 an hour.

"It's been a cushy job for a number of years,'' Manji said.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said giving the directors' fees to the Mayor's Welfare Fund would send a clear signal to the public that things were changing at the council.

It seemed appropriate that the directors' fees traditionally paid to councillors should go to the people most in need.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck agreed: "We should give the money . . . to the people in the community that need it the most.''

CCHL oversees the running of council-owned companies like Orion, City Care, Christchurch Airport and the Lyttelton Port Company .

Normally the four council directors of CCHL would be appointed for a three-year term but the council decided to only make the appointments for six months.

That is because they want to review how CCHL is structured and how it governs Council Controlled Companies and Council Controlled Trading Organisations.

The review is expected to take between three and six months.

The Press