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Big pay rise to directors

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014
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Is the Timaru Holdings directors' pay rise appropriate?

Yes, it's the first pay rise in seven years.

No - not at that level of increase.

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Directors of the Timaru District Council's holdings company were yesterday voted a pay increase of more than 60 per cent, to a rate of at least $200 an hour.

The increase will see them receive $18,000 a year each, up from $11,000, or a 63 per cent rise. The chairman will get $31,500 (up 63 per cent from $19,250) and the deputy chairman will get $21,600 (up 57 per cent from $13,750).

It is the first increase in seven years.

Consultancy firm Mitchell Notley & Associates estimated the directors' "time commitment" would be about 80 to 90 hours per year. At 90 hours a director would earn $200 an hour, the deputy chairman $240 an hour and the chairman $350 an hour.

"We have been very careful to review in relation to workloads and market benchmarks," the report said.

"As in any such evaluation exercise, no attempt has been made to take into account individual skills and abilities of directors."

Councillors approved the recommendation at yesterday's district council meeting.

Mayor Damon Odey and councillors Steve Earnshaw and Richard Lyon withdrew from the debate as they are Timaru District Holdings Ltd directors. Other directors are Richie Smith and Ian Fitzgerald.

Cr Tracy Tierney said she did not think the new remuneration was excessive.

Cr David Jack agreed: "In light of the report, I'm quite happy to consider the recommendation as stated," he said.

"They haven't had a rise since 2007. The workload is significant, it's quite fair we look at increasing the fees now, otherwise we're going to have another big lump in three years' time."

Odey is the current chairman, while the council is in the process of appointing an "external person" as deputy chairman.

TDHL, the council-owned holdings company, has a 50 per cent share in PrimePort Timaru, and a 47 per cent share in lines company Alpine Energy. It also owns a 21 per cent stake in Te Ana Whakairo, which runs the Maori Rock Art centre.

In the financial year ending July 2013, TDHL recorded an after-tax surplus of $2.86 million, and it is projecting a $25.1m surplus for next year, largely off the back of the sale of a 21 per cent share in PrimePort to Port of Tauranga.

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- The Timaru Herald

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