Establishing base remuneration

Approach

The Authority uses a “rate for the job” approach to the base remuneration of local government members, rather than meeting fees, because it has taken the view that an elected member’s role is more than attending meetings. However, there is provision for fees for elected members involved in resource consent hearings and district/regional RMA plan hearings.

In 2015, in order to establish the base remuneration of all councils except Auckland, the Authority undertook a job-sizing exercise with a cross section of sample councils (for example unitary/territorial/regional, urban/rural, northern/southern). This exercise included a survey and assessment of the hours required for governance and representative activity. The most recent exercise was completed in 2015. From that data it developed an overall size index measuring the relative size and complexity of each council’s business.

The results of this review were never fully implemented and we are currently undertaking (and consulting) with councils on) a further and more comprehensive exercise around the sizing of councils. There may be significant changes arising from this and it is likely that it will not be implemented until the 2019 election.

Mayors/Regional Chairs and Councillors

Remuneration for mayors and regional council chairs, as well as the base remuneration for councillors in each council, is derived from the job sizing exercise and the council’s place in the overall size index.

Following a local government election, extra remuneration for councillors with additional responsibilities is set, based on proposals from each council, with a cap for each council on the total additional remuneration that can be paid.

Loading for Unitary Councils

Remuneration for unitary council mayors and councillors is determined in the same way as other territorial local authorities, and then a 12.5% additional loading is applied to recognise the wider regional responsibilities of unitary councils.

Community Board Members

Remuneration for community board members is based on the population of their community and a job description. Extra remuneration for community boards with additional responsibilities is based on proposals from councils, with a cap for each board on the total additional remuneration that can be paid. The remuneration for community board chairs is set at twice that of members.

Auckland Governance Board and Local Board Members

Positions on the governing body, including Mayor, Deputy Mayor, committee chairs and councillors were sized in 2015.

When the new Auckland council was set up, the provision for Local Boards was new for local government in New Zealand. The Authority initially had to assess the scope of the role. Our assessment was that a local board carried fewer responsibilities than a territorial local authority but significantly greater responsibilities than community boards. A number of the Auckland Local Boards are also serving relatively large populations, compared with many councils. The initial remuneration was set accordingly and will be re-assessed in the 2017-18 year.