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First things first: Wellington City Councillors vote on giving themselves a pay rise

Wellington city councillors can pop the champagne – today they will vote on giving themselves a hefty pay rise after the Remuneration Authority allocated more dosh to spend on salaries.

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Voting in the pay packet will be one of the first things the newly formed council get done after new members say their maiden speeches on Wednesday.

The base salary for all councillors will increase from $86,874 to $111,225 –  with Deputy Mayor Sarah Free and chair of the strategy and policy committee Jill Day getting more.

In total, Free will take home  $130,225 per year and Day  $120,227.

Foster, whose pay is set by the Remuneration Authority, will earn just over $180,000 – a notch up from previous Mayor Justin Lester’s $170,000.

But before you think they are being greedy – it is an offer councillors can’t refuse.

The Remuneration Authority decides how much each council can spend on salaries every three years.

The authority set Wellington City Council’s most recent remuneration pool at  just over $1.5 million – money which has to be spent.

After accounting for the minimum base pay set by the authority, there was over $300,000 left to distribute.

Mayor Andy Foster said he discussed with councillors how the rest of the money should be divvied out between them.

Under previous mayors, councillors with more responsibilities were paid  more – with everyone on a base salary of  $82,418.

However, Foster had opted for a flat structure for all councillors – carrying on the structure introduced by Lester.

“Councillors indicated a preference for a relatively flat structure,” he said.

The new money is not a bad wicket for some of the fresher faces sitting around the council table this year like Teri O’Neill , 21, and Tamatha Paul, 22.

O’Neill told Stuff she was happy with the fact Foster had taken a flat approach to how the money was spent.

Both Free and Day get an extra boost of money due to the extra duties assigned to their portfolios.

Once formalised, the councillors will be back paid to October 19, 2019.

Tommy Livingstone/Stuff