19 Dec 2011

Christchurch council boss awarded 14% pay rise

7:17 pm on 19 December 2011

Christchurch City Council's chief executive has received a pay rise of more than 14%, taking his salary to more than $500,000.

In a closed session of the council meeting last Thursday, a majority of councillors voted to increase Tony Marryatt's pay from $470,400 to $538,529.

Mayor Bob Parker says the pay rise reflects Mr Marryatt's performance in the past two years and aligns his remuneration to the market rate for comparable chief executive roles.

Mr Parker says the scale of Mr Marryatt's role has become more complex since the big quakes in September 2010 and February and he manages 3000 people and a budget of $2 billion.

Councillor Glenn Livingstone, who voted against the increase, says the pay rise is outrageous and out of touch with reality.

Mr Livingstone says since the quakes, other people in Christchurch have made sacrifices and worked hard for next to nothing to get the city back on its feet and he does not think the chief executive should be singled out.

Earlier this year, councillors voted to not give themselves a pay rise.

Residents 'stunned and angry'

The Reverend Mike Coleman works with hundreds of people whose badly-damaged houses are in the red zone and says they are stunned at the pay rise.

He says people have lost their jobs, are struggling to pay for basic necessities, and have lost the equity in their homes.

A spokesperson for Canterbury support group, CanCERN, says she has heard from several angry people on Monday.

Leanne Curtis says people are living in dire conditions, while still expected to pay their rates, and find it hard to accept that the council's chief executive can get such a large pay increase.

Mayor Bob Parker says he understands it is an unpopular decision, but Tony Marryatt's position is vital to the recovery of Christchurch.