2 May 2015

Council underpaid mayor, deputy mayor

3:21 pm on 2 May 2015

The Christchurch City Council has been rebuked for underpaying its mayor and deputy mayor by thousands of dollars.

Lianne Dalziel (February 2015)

Lianne Dalziel - speaking in Christchurch in February 2015 Photo: Kai Schwoerer / Schwoerer Pressefoto / Picture-Alliance / AFP

In its latest review of the council's finances, the audit office found mayor Lianne Dalziel was paid a salary of $157,749 in the last financial year - $17,601 less than the correct amount.

Deputy mayor Vicki Buck's salary of $93,100 was also less than the correct amount, by $14,380.

The audit office found the council accidentally paid Ms Buck a councillor's salary. She said she never even noticed.

"One, I was much more focused on the council's finances than mine," she said.

"Two, the amount that councillors currently get I had no clue of, and so I didn't notice what they were paying - I was fully unaware."

Ms Buck said she assumed it was a simple administrative error. "Obviously you don't want to get beyond just the simple human error where people forget that you're the mayor or deputy mayor."

Audit New Zealand has called for a review of the way the council pays its elected members, saying the process hasn't been managed well enough.

"On reflection the processes for the payment of Elected Members Remuneration during this year should have been better managed," it said.

It failed to determine why the mayor had been underpaid.

The difference was repaid to the two this year.

Ms Buck said she spent the extra money helping her children pay their university fees.

Meanwhile, the Remuneration Authority has deemed Ms Dalziel should receive a 2.8 percent pay rise from 1 July this year.