Local Government Minister David Carter says a pay increase for the commissioners overseeing the Canterbury Regional Council is entirely justified.
Across the board, the commissioners' pay packets have risen by 9.3%; one commissioner, David Caygill, will be getting more than twice as much - $169,567 instead of $83,589.
Green MP Eugenie Sage - a former councillor herself - says the seven government-appointed commissioners are costing Canterbury ratepayers more than the 14 elected councillors used to.
Altogether the commissioners will now be paid just over $897,000. However, Mr Carter says the collective payment made to the councillors before their dismissal in 2010 equated to about $880,000.
He says any attempt to argue over $17,000 is being disingenuous with the truth.
The amount paid is based on days attended, workload and availability.
The Government announced recently that the seven commissioners will remain in place of elected councillors until 2016.