Elected Members' Remuneration, Allowances & Expenses Policy

Policies

1.0  Purpose

1.1 This policy sets out elected members remuneration and entitlement of elected members to allowances and contributions towards expenses during their term of office.
1.2 This policy ensures that all remuneration and allowances paid to elected members are in accordance with the Remuneration Authority determination and rules for the appropriate year.

2.0  Background

2.1 The Local Government Act 2002 provides for the Remuneration Authority (the Authority) to determine the remuneration, allowances, and rules for reimbursing expenses incurred by all local authority elected members.
2.2 Prior to local body term the Authority undertakes a review of the settings for elected member remuneration and allowances, in consultation with councils. Following this review, an annual determination is then issued prior to 30 June each year, which may result in adjustments for to the level of remuneration received.*  
2.3 The attached schedule of remuneration is updated annually to reflect the latest determination issued by the Authority.
2.4 Allowances set by the Authority are reviewed annually and are entirely at the discretion of Council within the limits set by the Authority.
2.5 Council approved allowances must be included in this policy and published on Council’s website.
2.6 Actual and reasonable expenses incurred by elected members while undertaking Council business will be reimbursed in line with this policy.

*These adjustments may take account of data collected by the State Services Commission on public and private sector remuneration movements, any major legislative changes in the role of elected members and feedback from the sector.

3.0  Key Definitions

Actual – means as evidenced by the original receipt attached to the expenses reimbursement claim form.
Council business – includes: formal Council and Community Board Meetings, Committee and Subcommittee Meetings, workshops, seminars, statutory hearings, training courses, site visits, meetings with staff, meetings with community groups, and meetings with members of the public.  It does not include events where the primary focus is on social activity.
Family member – (in relation to the childcare allowance) a spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner of the elected member, or a relative, that is, another person connected with the elected member within two degrees of a relationship, whether by blood relationship or by adoption.
Hearing – has the same meaning as section 5 of the Local Government Members Determination for the year to which it applies, and includes resource consent hearings; pre-hearing meetings held under section 99 of the Resource Management Act (RMA); a hearing as part of the process of the preparation, change, variation, or review of a district plan; a mediation hearing in the Environment Court as part of an appeal process and a hearing on an objection against a charge fixed by a local authority under section 36 of the RMA.
Reasonable – means that it is within the amount specified by this policy or as deemed reasonable by the Mayor and/or Chief Executive.  
Remuneration Authority (the Authority) – is an independent body established by the Remuneration Authority Act 1977, with responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2002 to determine remuneration and expense/allowance rules for local authority members.

4.0  Principles

4.1 The payment of allowances and expenses to Elected Members by Timaru District Council is made in accordance with the Auditor General’s guidance for a principles based approach for sensitive expenditure.
4.2 The principles are that expenditure decisions:

  • Have a justifiable business purpose;
  • Preserve impartiality;
  • Are made with integrity;
  • Are moderate and conservative, having regard to the circumstances;
  • Are made transparently; and
  • Are appropriate in all respects.

5.0  Remuneration

5.1 The Mayor shall receive remuneration as determined by the Remuneration Authority, outlined in Appendix A.
5.2 The Remuneration Authority sets a Governance Pool which is the total amount that can be paid in remuneration to councillors, and a minimum allowable remuneration for each councillor. Council must make a formal decision as to how the Governance Pool is allocated according to roles and additional responsibilities held by Councillors. The allocation of the Governance Pool is outlined in Appendix A, as recommended by Council and approved by the Remuneration Authority.
5.3 Community Board Chairs and Members receive remuneration as determined by the Remuneration Authority, outlined in Appendix A.
5.4 Elected Councillors who are appointed as Chairs on the Community Board receive no additional remuneration.
5.5 Elected members who sit on resource management or district plan hearings receive meeting fees as determined by the Remuneration Authority, outlined in Appendix A.
5.6 Elected Members will not receive any additional remuneration for their roles on Council Committees, Subcommittees beyond that outlined in Appendix A.
5.7 Elected Members appointed Directors of Council Owned Organisations (CCOs) may receive remuneration in accordance with Council’s Appointment Policy.

6.0  Allowances

6.1 Any allowances not currently included in this policy will be subject, in the first instance, to the criteria set by the relevant annual determination.
6.2 The following allowances are available to elected members:

7.0  Vehicle Mileage Allowance

7.1 Elected members can claim a vehicle mileage allowance to reimburse costs incurred for eligible travel.
7.2 An elected members travel is eligible for the mileage allowance if:

  • The elected member is not provide with a vehicle by Council;
  • The elected member is travelling in a private vehicle;
  • The elected member is travelling on Council business; and
  • The most direct route that is reasonable is taken.

7.3 The vehicle mileage allowance is set by the Authority and is reviewed annually. The allowance is based on the rate set by the Inland Revenue.
7.4 Any mileage allowance claimed should meet the reasonable additional cost the elected member incurs by using their own vehicle for travel required on Council business. This includes travel from home to the place of work or other venues required for local authority business.
7.5 The current vehicle mileage allowance rate is set out in Appendix 1.
7.6 All claims for vehicle mileage allowance are to be approved by the Chief Executive.

8.0  Travel Time Allowance

8.1 Elected members can claim a travel time allowance for travelling within New Zealand on Council business.
8.2 The Mayor is not eligible for this allowance because the role is deemed to be full time and remuneration set accordingly.
8.3 Council will pay the travel time allowance set by the Authority for all eligible travel claimed by an elected member.
8.4 An elected members travel is eligible for the travel time allowance if:

  • The elected member is travelling on Council business;
  • The elected member uses the quickest form of transport that is reasonable; and
  • The most direct route reasonable is taken.

8.5 Elected members cannot claim for the first hour of eligible travel.
8.6 The maximum total amount of travel time allowance that an elected member may be paid for eligible travel in a 24-hour period is eight hours.
8.7 An elected member who resides outside the district boundary is only eligible for a travel time allowance in respect of travel time after the first hour of eligible travel time within the Timaru District boundaries.
8.8 The current travel time allowance rate is set out in Appendix 1.
8.9 All claims for travel time allowance are to be approved by the Chief Executive.

9.0  Communications

9.1 The Mayor and Councillors are provided with tablet (or similar). Full technical support is provided where related to Council business.
9.2 The Mayor is provided with a mobile phone and full payment of all expenses related to the use of the mobile phone.
9.3 Council will pay annual allowances in recognition of elected members’ use of personal communication equipment and services for Council business as set out in Appendix 1.

10.0  Childcare Allowance

10.1 Elected members can claim a childcare allowance as a contribution towards expenses incurred by the member for childcare while the member is engaged on Council business.
10.2 Elected members are eligible for the allowance if:

  • they are engaged on local authority business at the time of the childcare;
  • they are the parent or guardian of the child, or usually has day-to-day responsibility for the care of the child; and
  • the child is under 14 years of age.
    iv.The childcare must be provided by someone who:
    • is not a family member of the elected member; and
    • does not ordinarily reside with the elected member.
  • Elected members must provide evidence of the amount paid for childcare.

10.3 Eligible elected members can claim up to $6,000 per year for each child if the childcare meets the criteria above.
10.4 All claims for childcare allowance are to be approved by the Chief Executive.

11.0  Expenses

11.1 From time to time elected members incur expenses in their undertaking of Council business which need to be reimbursed. This reimbursement applies only to elected members personally, and only while they are acting in their official capacity as elected members.
11.2 In incurring and claiming these expenses, elected members will abide by the principles detailed in Section 4 of this policy.
11.3 Any expenses to be reimbursed will be on an actual and reasonable basis and in line with the principles detailed in Section 4 of this policy.
11.4 An expense reimbursement form is to be completed and full GST receipts attached for all expense claims.
11.5 All expense claims are to be returned to the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive at least quarterly.
11.6 All expense claims submitted by elected members are to be approved by the Chief Executive and will be in line with approved Council budgets.
11.7 Council’s internal audit work programme will include sampling of allowances and expense claims paid to elected members.
11.8 Any expenses not currently included in this policy will be subject in the first instance to the criteria set by the relevant annual determination.
11.9 All expense reimbursements will be made via Council’s payroll system.

12.0  Transport

12.1 Taxis or ride sharing services may be used for council business, instead of private vehicles or public transport, for safety or security reasons, or where it is the most appropriate form of transport. Taxi charge vouchers should be used for planned travel within New Zealand.
12.2 Taxis or ride sharing services should not be used where significant travel distances mean that use of a taxi is not the most cost effective option.  
12.3 Rental cars may be utilised when attending meetings or conferences in other centres, where this is the most cost-effective travel option.
12.4 Costs paid for directly by an elected member for unanticipated travel will be reimbursed on presentation of actual receipts.

13.0  Air Travel

13.1 Council will pay domestic air travel for those elected members approved to attend seminars, conferences, training and development courses, or for any other Council business approved by the Mayor and Chief Executive.
13.2 All air travel arrangements for elected members are to be made by the appropriate Council officer in accordance with the principles of this policy.
13.3 International air travel by an elected member is by way of economy class. The approval of Council is required for exceptions.
13.4 Council, where appropriate, will pay travel insurance for all domestic and international travel.

14.0  Koru Club

14.1 The Mayor will receive an annual membership to the Air New Zealand Koru Club, recognising the frequent travel requirements of the role.

15.0  Car Parking

15.1 The Mayor and Councillors will receive the use of an assigned car parks at the Timaru Civic Offices for use on council business.

16.0  Mayoral Car

16.1 The Mayor will be provided with a vehicle that will also be available for private use.  A pro rata deduction will be made from the Mayor’s salary to reflect the full use of the vehicle. The Mayor will not be able to claim for vehicle mileage.

17.0  Accommodation

17.1 Council will pay accommodation costs for those elected members approved to attend seminars, conferences, training and development courses, or for any other Council business approved by the Mayor and Chief Executive.
17.2 All accommodation arrangements for elected members are to be made by the appropriate Council officer in accordance with the principles of this policy.
17.3 Elected members can claim $50 per night when staying in private accommodation, to cover accommodation, breakfast and dinner.  It is intended that at least a portion of this allowance is paid to the accommodation provider.

18.0  Meals, Beverages and Incidentals

18.1 Elected Members can claim actual and reasonable meal costs (excluding alcohol) incurred while the member is engaged on Council business.
18.2 Purchases from hotel mini-bars will not be reimbursed.

19.0  Hospitality and Entertainment

19.1 The Mayor holds a purchasing card to pay directly for any entertainment or hospitality expenses incurred while carrying out council business. Full receipts and details of the names of parties entertained and reasons for the entertainment are to be provided. All expenditure on this card is to be approved by the Chief Executive.
19.2 Elected members can claim actual and reasonable costs incurred while hosting official visitors to Council, or while travelling on Council business. These costs can cover a range of items including, but not limited to; non-alcoholic drinks and catering.
19.3 Alcohol costs will not be reimbursed by Council.

20.0  Stationery

20.1 Council will supply a reasonable amount of paper and printer consumables, and other stationery requirements for Council business.

Appendix 1

As set by the Local Government Members (2019/20) Determination 2019

2019/20 Remuneration and Allowances


Adopted by Timaru District Council 19 May 2020

Last updated: 26 May 2020