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How much am I getting paid?

AUTHOR Frank Newman DATE 05 Nov 2019

First things first. How much am I going to get paid?

Remuneration was one of the first things our newly elected council discussed. Perhaps how much they are going to be paid for their service to the community is the most important thing in the minds of some councillors!

Councillors are actually paid a lot nowadays, for what is or should be a part-time job that carries three-year job security and no financial liability. It's about $50k for your run-of the-mill councillor, plus $6k a year per child if you happen to be burdened with young children, plus more if you carry the burden of a committee chairmanship or be the Mayor's deputy to carry out the onerous responsibilities of being the Mayor's sidekick.  

The theory touted about is that the pay needs to be good to attract good people. The assumption being that good people are attracted by the pay. "Pay peanuts and you get monkeys" they often say.

That's a load of BS, to put it politely.

I had two terms on the District Council with a gap of six years between terms. The first-term councillors were paid about $16k from memory. The second term was closer to $40k. So one would, according to the peanuts and monkeys theory, expect the first lot of councillors to be dumb-dumb monkeys and the second lot high-calibre decision-makers. Yeah right!

As it happens the monkeys actually made better decisions than the assumed high-calibre decision-makers. The reason being that they were not there for the money!

Perhaps it’s the public who are the dumb dumb monkeys for falling for the pay-more get-better line.

Frank Newman served two terms as a councillor on the Whangarei District Council. The views expressed are personal and do not purport to represent the views of Better!Whangarei. 

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