Yesterday’s Sunday Star Times ran a piece quoting several of the new members of the Auckland Council complaining about their rate of pay ($80K base, with one councillor for almost 75,000 people).
Buried deep in the article was mention of ward offices for the councillors…
And discussion is under way about funding electorate offices similar to MPs’.
MPs have offices outside of parliament funded by Parliamentary Services – $105,192 for a large electorate, $64,260 for a constituency member and $40,932 for a list MP.
Additional funding is provided for travel and communications, including cellphones and internet, and each office has up to three fulltime staff.
Ross said he did not want to be holding meetings in a spare bedroom at his east Auckland house and would like an office.
“I am surprised this was never considered prior to the council commencing.”
It seems that in recent months ideas like this, bring local government decision making closer to the people, have become more and more popular all around the country.
Councillor Paul Eagle, tipped to take the community engagement portfolio on the WCC, made this one of his policy priorities during the campaign, it will be interesting to see if he is able to drive the idea further around the council table…