Sunday, November 7, 2010
Frank Newman: How much are the Super-City Councillors really worth?
When I was first elected to the Whangarei District Council in 1995 we were paid $16,000 a year. I can’t recall any councillor moaning about their salary. Most accepted the role was essentially one of community service.
When I left office in 2007 the pay was about $40,000 and every year when remuneration was reviewed I would have to sit and listen to the bleating pleas, usually from those who claimed to be representing the poor and disadvantaged, that they deserved more. Despite their claims of a heavy work load all but a few had other jobs or business interests that paid as much if not more than the Council salary. Often I would hear them say, “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys”, which actually would have been funny had they intended it to be a joke. Seriously, the councillors I sat with in 2004 were no less ape-like than the ones I sat with in 1995, despite the pay differential.
In my experience councillors are not actually worth what they receive, but it’s not for me to put a value on their worth. Nor do I think it is up to the Higher Salaries Commission. Let ratepayers decide, after all it is ratepayers who are paying their salaries.
It’s simple enough. Council could send out an annual survey asking ratepayers to put a figure on how much their elected representatives should be paid. Why not? Don’t councillors trust ratepayers to make a wise choice?
Let the good people of Auckland say how much their super councillors are worth. What a reality check that would be for our super city councillors!
at 9:01 PM