Buller District Council

Media Release- Councillor Remuneration

15th November, 2019

A new local government pay scale has been created by the Remuneration Authority following a review in 2018 brings with it changes in the way Buller District Councillors will be remunerated. The changes do not add any extra costs to ratepayers.

The Remuneration Authority’s review last year resulted in the creation of three new size indices – one each for territorial authorities, regional authorities, and unitary authorities – and the consequent construction of a new local government pay scale.

One of the key changes from the previous system is that the Remuneration Authority has decided to create a pool for each council as a collective, reflecting the size of the actual total governance roles of councils rather than the number of councillors.

Each council’s governance pool is aligned with their ranking of the council on the relevant size index and within the framework of the new local government pay scale. The pool provides the total amount that can be paid in remuneration to councillors in each individual council (aside from the mayor and regional council chair). The whole pool must be used and can’t be exceeded. The governance pool does not have any relationship to the number of councillors. This means that if the number of councillors changes the pool does not, it will have to be shared amongst more or fewer people.

Councils are now required to decide for themselves how the stipulated funds will be distributed according to its own priorities and circumstances. Buller District Councillors will discuss the allocation of the remuneration pool at the Finance Risk and Audit Committee on 20 November at the Council Chambers. Allocation of the pool will look different because of the change in positions the current councillors are responsible for compared to the previous structure.

The pool doesn’t apply to the annual remunerations of mayors or community board members but could include remuneration proposed for the deputy mayor, committee chairs and portfolio holders and councillors.

In addition, there is also provision for elected members to be paid for their involvement in hearings and related meetings for resource consents and district/regional plans under the Resource Management Act. These fees are not part of the governance remuneration pool covering councillors’ remuneration and positions of additional responsibility. There is no annual cap on the payment of fees for these hearings. Councils must include their hearing fees in their individual expense and reimbursement policy and are capped by the authority.

Council is required to have a vote to approve roles that attract additional remuneration above the base rate. Following its formal decision-making, the council will need to forward their proposal for additional remuneration to the Authority for consideration and inclusion in the determination.

 

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