Tauranga city councillors have defended the pay rise they this week voted for themselves, with one describing the 0.8 per cent increase as "not exactly earth-shattering".

The Government-controlled Remuneration Authority has bumped up the ratepayer-funded pool for Tauranga City Council's elected members from $752,643 this financial year to $758,828 for 2011/12, adding an extra $6185 to what councillors are paid.

 Councillor Tony Christiansen - Sam Ackland / File.

Councillor Tony Christiansen - Sam Ackland / File.

The increase will see Deputy Mayor David Stewart's salary rise from $83,564 to $84,232, while councillors who chair committees will receive an increase from $80,564 to $81,226.

The salary of councillors will rise from $73,564 to $74,171.

Cr Murray Guy said the amount paid to councillors was determined by the Remuneration Authority and it was up to councillors only to distribute it among themselves.

"It's not exactly earth-shattering stuff," he said.

Mr Guy believed councillors' salary levels needed to be compared with senior management roles at companies.

"Some of us have given up businesses where we've enjoyed reasonable cash flows to do what we do for the community."

Cr Bill Grainger said "100 per cent" of his time went toward his council duties.

"I was in real estate but I had to knock that on the head. You've got to realise we've got many meetings to attend and we're on many subcommittees. We're also out on business and we get called out to go to functions on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. For me on average, there's 15 to 20 emails waiting for me when I get home as well as phone messages."

Councillors received "no perks", Mr Grainger said.

"The government has come down on travelling expenses in a big way as well. I can gladly say, 'do I earn my money? You're damn right I do'."

New councillor Tony Christiansen worked out he was spending 49 hours a week on his council duties, which included attended meetings, talking with ratepayers and reading up on agendas. Mr Christiansen said agenda papers for each of the five committees he sits on were "in the vicinity of at least 300 pages - the smallest document's I've seen are 60 pages".

"They have to be read. When council staff come to you with proposals, you have to know what you're talking about."

David Stewart said the role of a councillor was "certainly not a 9 to 5 job".

"You've always got to be available to people when they ring you and want to know something."

The authority had already set Mayor Stuart Crosby's gross salary for the year which, minus vehicle deductions, will jump $5600 to $132,100.

Salary levels

What other elected members are earning:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council members are today expected to approve pay increases after the Remuneration Authority increased the council's pool from $559,778 to $569,655 for 2011/12.

The proposed structure would see deputy chairman Philip Sherry and committee chairs earning a $54,500 salary, while councillors would receive $46,000.

Council chairman John Cronin's salary would remain unchanged from last year at $128,500.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board's remuneration structure includes a base fee of $44,000 for board chairwoman Sally Webb.

Deputy chairman Jeff Williams receives a base fee of $27,500 per annum, while other members receive a base fee of $22,000 per annum.

The base fees are annualised and paid monthly.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has yet to set its members' salaries for 2011/12.

Comment