Hawke's Bay Regional Council's chief executive will get a 29 percent pay increase to run the Ruataniwha Dam project the council is developing.
Andrew Newman has been acting as chief executive of the council's investment company since July last year. He will now receive $380,000 a year, backdated to January this year.
The company's chairman, Andy Pearce, says the dam will be the largest irrigation project ever undertaken in New Zealand and the complexity of the task meant a higher level of pay was warranted.
Mr Newman is expected to return to his council role, which pays $295,000 annually, in the middle of this year.
The project is yet to get approval, with the board of inquiry considering it due to report back on 28 May.