Note: The following explanatory memorandum should be read in conjunction with the explanatory memorandum(s) appended to the:
This memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
This determination sets the remuneration, expenses, and allowances for the mayor of Auckland and for Auckland councillors who have no committee or other additional responsibilities. Similarly for the 21 local boards established in the new local government structure for Auckland, the determination sets the remuneration, expenses, and allowances for the chairpersons of the local boards and the elected members of the local boards who have no committee or other additional responsibilities.
The remuneration of the mayor of Auckland and the chairpersons of the local boards will remain unchanged until at least 30 June 2011. However, when the Auckland Council and local boards are in place, and have established their committee structures (including deputy mayor and deputy chairperson positions), the Remuneration Authority will make a further determination under section 19(4)(b) of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977, based on recommendations from the Auckland Council and local boards, and within a financial cap established by the Authority, which will provide additional remuneration for the elected members appointed to positions of responsibility within those structures.
In applying the mandatory criteria set out in clause 7 of Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002, the Authority sought to balance the following considerations:
the relativity between the remuneration for elected positions in the new Auckland structure and the remuneration received by the mayors, chairpersons, and elected members of local authorities elsewhere:
the inevitable uncertainty about the way in which the new structures will operate in practice over time. For example, the delegations from the Auckland Council to the local boards will be refined over time, and the balance of accountability of the local boards to the Council (for the discharge of delegated authorities) and to their electors (for their performance) will similarly become clearer and established in practice:
the roles of the principal council-controlled organisations. Although responsible to the Auckland Council, they have a statutory mandate independent of the Council:
the total cost of governance. With 170 elected members (in the Auckland Council and 21 local boards) every extra $5,000 in individual elected members’ pay results in $850,000 per annum to be funded by ratepayers:
the encouragement of effective governance practices:
the need to attract suitably qualified candidates.
For these and other reasons, the Authority has taken a relatively conservative approach to remuneration setting for Auckland. The remuneration provided in this determination should be adequate to allow the mayor to make a full-time commitment to the role. The remuneration for the Auckland councillors should enable those who wish to make a full-time or near full-time commitment to the role to do so (although inevitably some councillors will face a significant opportunity cost). The assumption is that the chairpersons and members of local boards are not full-time roles, although the role of chairperson in particular will involve a significant time commitment that will limit the opportunity for earning additional income.
The Authority considered whether to allow a mix of meeting fees and regular remuneration. Its view is that set annual remuneration is a more robust way of ensuring participation in governance functions.
As stated above, the Authority will issue an amending determination as soon as possible after the 2010 local body elections to recognise the positions of responsibility that will be established in the Auckland Council and local boards. Before 30 June 2011, the Council and local boards will have the opportunity to put their views to the Authority on the structure and quantum of remuneration prior to the determination for 2011/2012.
The determination, and the governance restructuring, will result in savings in excess of $1 million annually.
The provisions in the determination for the payment of resource consent hearing fees to elected members, in addition to their remuneration, are broadly similar to those in the current determinations for local authorities. Two comments are warranted—
first, at this time the extent to which members of local boards will be involved in resource consent hearings of the type defined in clause 7 of the determination is not clear. However, the Auckland Council is a unitary authority with wide authority to delegate responsibilities to local boards. For that reason, the provisions in the determination for the payment of resource consent hearing fees apply to both the Council and the local boards:
secondly, payment of resource consent hearing fees to the mayor or to the chairpersons of local boards is not authorised by this determination, which is consistent with the long-standing position of the Authority that the mayor and chairperson roles are to ensure that sound process is in place and, to the extent permitted in a political environment, stand
“above the fray” in resource consent matters.
Furthermore, as the mayor and chairperson positions are full-time or near full-time, such additional payments would be difficult to justify.
Note: The preceding explanatory memorandum should be read in conjunction with the explanatory memorandum(s) appended to the: