Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown cagey about work hours, does not think $296,000 is a big salary

4:00 pm on 12 October 2022

By Bernard Orsman of NZ Herald

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown said his $296,000 salary 'isn't large to me.' Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

New Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is being cagey about the specific hours he will commit to the job of leading the Super City and says "it's nobody's business".

On his first day in the job on Sunday, Brown skipped media interviews to spend time with family, but did find time for a family photograph and a few words with the New Zealand Herald.

The Herald on Tuesday night queried Brown on the specific hours he planned to work and the mayor said it was "nobody's business".

Brown said he started work at 7.30am that morning and was on his way home at 6pm.

He would not necessarily work at weekends and was not being paid a huge salary, he said.

When the Herald put it to him that most people would regard his salary of $296,000 as large, the businessman said: "It's not to me".

During the election campaign, Brown said as mayor in charge of the budget, he planned to pass a resolution to cut the salary pool of staff earning more than $300,000 by 30 percent, middle management by 20 percent and lower management by 10 percent.

"Bob Harvey [former Waitakere City mayor] used to say 'you are the mayor 24/7, even when you are lying in bed you are still the bloody mayor'," Brown said.

"It's a job you do to meet the demands of the job. That's it. I will do what is required. I will work a lot quicker and more efficiently than the last guy [Phil Goff], but that doesn't mean he didn't work well either."

Asked if he planned to work at weekends, Brown said "not necessarily", but would go to some events and official engagements.

Earlier, a media spokesman for Brown said the mayor would be working to get the city and the council fixed - "he will not be desk-bound".

The job of mayor of Auckland is often referred to as the second biggest political job in the country behind the prime minister.

It is the mayor's job to promote a vision for Auckland, provide leadership, lead the development of council plans, policies and budgets and ensure effective engagement between Auckland Council and 1.7 million Aucklanders.

The mayor normally attends major council committee meetings, civic functions, events and has regular meetings with business leaders and other stakeholders.

Outgoing mayor Phil Goff had the reputation of being a workaholic. He started work most days at 7am and often did not get home until 10pm following an evening engagement.

Most weekends, Goff attended events on Saturday and Sunday. He worked an average of 60 to 65 hours a week, a former staffer said.

Goff had two diaries. One for official meetings and one to manage the 20 or business and other events he was invited to most weeks.

He took two weeks off over Christmas and New Year and tried to squeeze in a break during the year.

* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

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