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Challenges await elected members

ELI HILL and STEVE RENDLE

With nominations for local body elections opening yesterday, we take a look at what remuneration the successful candidates can expect.

The chairperson of the Greater Wellington Regional Council has the highest pay of all elected roles at $174,000 a year.

Regional council councillors earn $61,517 – the highest-paid councillor roles available.

Masterton is the highest paying of the district council roles with the mayor paid $122,000 annually and councillors a minimum of $28,073 a year.

District health board members are paid $16,320 as a base salary but, like district councillors, can be paid more through sitting on committees.

The highest-paying community boards are those in the Tararua district. Eketahuna Community Board members are each paid $3777 a year and the chairperson $7554.

Members of South Wairarapa’s three boards are each paid $3253. The chairpersons of the boards are paid $6507.

Standing for election isn’t free. Signs, pamphlets, and marketing all have a cost attached and there are limits on what people can spend.

In areas with populations up to 4999, candidates can spend a maximum of $3500 on their campaign.

Areas with 5000-9999 people have a $7000 cap, up to 19,999 people have a $14,000 cap, and up to 39,999 people have a $20,000 cap.

The criteria to stand is fairly basic – candidates need to be aged over 18 and enrolled in the area they want to stand for.

Two people will need to nominate the prospective local representative on an official nomination form available from councils.

Along with the nomination form, candidates should send in a recent photograph of themselves and a 150-word profile statement which will be published in a booklet and sent out with the voting documents.

Nominees must pay a $200 deposit which will be refunded as long as they receive more than 25 per cent of the votes of the lowest candidate who was successful in being elected.

Criminal conviction? No worries. In local body elections, people with a criminal conviction can stand – even those serving time.

The only exception to this is people serving a prison term of three years or more.

If you are elected and convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment of two years or more, you automatically lose office.

However, there are additional restrictions if the person wants to stand for a district health board position.

Nominations close at noon on August 16.

According to the candidate’s handbook, which election officer Warwick Lampp recommends all candidates read, the role of elected officials can be very demanding at times.

“You will have to balance a number of competing interests and wear a number of hats as councillors can be required to act simultaneously as decision-makers and community advocates.

“Being an effective elected member can be a challenging experience. It requires balancing competing demands for your time and exercising your judgment about what is important,” the handbook reads.

Elected officials’ remuneration

Tararua District Council

Mayor: $112,500; Councillor [minimum]: $26,718

Eketahuna Community Board

Chairperson: $7554, Member: $3777

Dannevirke Community Board

Chairperson: $11,656; Member: $5826

Masterton District Council

Mayor $122,000; Councillor [minimum] $28,073

Carterton District Council

Mayor $83,500; Councillor [minimum] $18,825

South Wairarapa District Council

Mayor $92,000; Councillor [minimum] $18,576

Featherston Community Board

Chairperson: $6507, Member: $3253

Greytown Community Board

Chairperson: $6507, Member: $3253

Martinborough Community Board

Chairperson: $6507, Member: $3253

Greater Wellington Regional Council

Chairperson $174,000; Councillor [minimum] $61,517

Wairarapa District Health Board

Chairperson $33,600; Member $16,320

Masterton Community Trust

Chairperson $6900, Members $2100

All members of the community trust are automatically members of the Masterton Regional Net Proceeds Committee:

Chairperson : $15.480, Members: $6000.

Masterton Trust Lands Trust

Chairperson $18,460; Trustee $5375

Greytown Trust Lands Trust

Chairperson $8305; Trustee $4980