Pay hikes for Queenstown mayor and councillors sail through

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The freshly elected Queenstown Lakes District Council rubber stamped salary hikes for councillors and the mayor today. 

The Remuneration Authority stumps up $368,790 – the same amount as last year – which gets divvied between newly elected members. This year the money is being dished out differently, resulting in pay increases. 

Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks holds a new position which also includes the roles of community board chair and standing committee chair and will pocket $48,997 annually. 

Councillors receive $29,165, up almost four per cent, and mayor Vanessa van Uden’s salary was bumped almost eight per cent from $85,316 to $91,900. 

The council are also proposing to double the mileage allowance for the mayor and Wanaka representatives. The bar sits at 5000km each year, but council are asking the Remuneration Authority to extend that to 10,000km. 

Also decided at the meeting was a move not to appeal the decision by council-appointed commissioners not to extend the Arrowtown boundary to include the council-owned Jopp Street site. 

The commissioners found extending the boundary to include Jopp St “would erode the distinction between urban 
and rural land”. 

But for the first hour and a half of the meeting, issues such as renaming standing committees were top of the program. 

In the name of simplification, the utilities committee is now tagged infrastructure services, and after lengthy discussion, the finance and corporate accountability committee was relabelled the finance and corporate committee. 

Councillor John Mann pushed for the title of finance committee, saying: 

“You talk to anyone one in the street and they talk about finance.” 

It also took a wee while to establish that rather than a full council giving the go-ahead to temporary closures on arterial roads for four hours or more, the property subcommittee or council boss could deal with all road closures of less than 13 hours. 

Those points have now been addressed to save council time in the future. 

However quips from council newcomer, lawyer Simon Stamers-Smith provided light relief. 

Stamers-Smith put his hand up to be a council representative on the freedom camping working party since he does it “quite regularly” without making a mess. He’s also a rep on the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy 
Implementation Steering Group, though he admits he hasn’t set foot on a Queenstown bus yet.