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Published: 2009-02-26 00:00:00

Environment Waikato councilors have voted to accept pay rises following recommendations from the independent Remuneration Authority, which sets pay of elected officers and statutory officials.

Under the authority’s recommendations, the total pool available to pay councilors was increased by 4.45 per cent to $790,443.

At its last meeting, finance and audit committee members recommended council reject the rise. Councillors on the committee agreed the money should be foregone and used to help keep rates down.

But at today’s full council meeting, most councilors accepted that they should take the rise given that the Remuneration Authority’s role was to remove political responsibility and associated pressures from councillors on pay issues.

However, four councillors – Ian Balme, Pat Gregory, Jane Hennebry and Simon Friar – voted against accepting the rise.

From the extra 4.45 per cent of funds available, council has proposed the chairman’s salary will increase 3.85 per cent to $137,895 and that there will be a 4.58 per cent pay rise for other councillors.

If the authority accepts the council’s recommendation, councillor salaries will be $43,611, committee chair salaries will be $54,514 and the deputy chair’s salary will be $65,417. Councillor meeting fees would increase by $5 to $125.