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, remuneration for elected members involved in district/regional plan reviews can be based on a daily or hourly rate and there is also provision for fees for elected members involved in resource consent hearings.

To establish the base remuneration of all councils except Auckland, the Authority has:

  1. Undertaken 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.
  2. Developed an overall size index measuring the relative size and complexity of each council’s business.

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.

Extra remuneration for councillors with additional responsibilities is set following proposals from each council, with a cap for each council on the total additional remuneration that can be paid.

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.

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.

Auckland governance board and local board members

Positions on the governing body, including Mayor, Deputy Mayor, committee chairs and councillors have been job sized, most recently in 2015.

The Auckland Local Boards are a new structure and 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 2017.