Council members score pay increase from July

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker will get a $3900 pay increase in July while city councillors will pocket an extra $400.

Elected members' salaries are set by the Remuneration Authority and show Hardaker's salary will increase 2.67 per cent to $149,700 on July 1.

Councillors' pay packets will rise 0.57 per cent to $69,400 a year.

Remuneration Authority deputy chairwoman Angela Foulkes said councillors' salaries were calculated independently of the mayor.

"For mayors we have quite a clear idea of the hours they work and the size of their jobs whereas, across the 80 councils, councillors' workloads can differ and so we use a specific formula which takes into consideration factors such as population size," Foulkes said.

The council can not challenge the pay rates set by the authority.

Foulkes said the mayor's salary was set against market conditions, although the rate was "heavily discounted". "Were the mayor doing the job as a job rather than as an elected position, the salary would be significantly higher."

City councillor Martin Gallagher said it was appropriate the mayor of a city the size of Hamilton was paid a salary comparable to a backbench MP.

A backbench MP earns $147,800 a year.

"I think there's a strong case for the mayor of Hamilton to be paid what an MP is paid given the huge responsibility attached to the office of the mayor. I'd also make the observation the mayor is paid a lot less than a lot of her senior staff so I don't begrudge the mayor's increase at all," Gallagher said.

Councillors' $400 pay increase resembled a cost of living adjustment. "Senior committee chairs and the deputy mayor no doubt do a fulltime job and most councillors put in a fairly fulltime effort," Gallagher said.



Role Current pay New pay Mayor 145,800 149,700 Deputy Mayor 86,250 86,750 Committee chair 82,800 83,280 Deputy committee chair and sub-committee chair 75,900 76,340 Councillor 69,000 69,400

Waikato Times