Auckland councillors are to get a 1.5 percent pay rise this year, with the mayor's salary rising to $269,500.
The Remuneration Authority - which sets their pay - has also signalled that a far bigger rise could be justified, and debate would be needed after this year's election.
The pay rise takes a standard councillor's annual salary to $105,800, and the deputy mayor to $151,850.
The authority said an increase of at least 20 percent would be needed to take the pay close to a benchmark of 80 percent of the public sector level.
"The authority considers it is not possible to address there levels of increases in the current environment," said the latest determination.
"We remain of a view that a a serious conversation about the size and nature of the positions needs to be held after the coming elections."
It argued the Auckland Council led one of the most significant contributors to the country's economy, and the councillors were paid at a significant discount to the wider public sector.
A similar increase is being paid to 100 local board members, who the authority said were paid appropriately.