Can Christchurch’s council be saved?

January 25th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

In my blog at , I ask can Christchurch’s council be saved?

But the pay rise granted to the CEO seems to be the issue that has generated the most heat. Unfortunately for the council it is the one issue they cannot fix. Once an employment contract has been signed, there is no legal way to require the CEO to accept a lower salary. The council cannot legally cancel the payrise. Only if the CEO voluntarily agreed to go back to his old salary could it happen. And it is hard to see what motivation he would have to do so. …

What do you think is the answer? Do you think the council can right itself? Do you think the only solution is to wait for the October 2013 elections, or is a commissioner warranted? Or perhaps, should the local body elections for Christchurch be brought forward to, say, March 2011, allowing residents to sack or re-elect the incumbents? Is an election campaign though what the city needs now?

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22 Responses to “Can Christchurch’s council be saved?”

  1. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Mr Farrar get your mind around it, most ChCh people think hes a VERY WELL PAID TOWN CLERK, the damn city is stuffed and they have a smug tosser earning MEGA BUCKS,playing golf duing the working day . They shit in portaloos and this VERY highly paid town clerk dosnt live with them.get real david HE ISNT LIKED

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  2. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    Well the action of the Kapiti Council ratcheting up the going rate to 18% ($48,000) annual rise for their Town Clerk, a Nelson reject,who has perpetuated their culture of extravagance,wastage, and incompetence since his arrival, clearly shows that the system of empowering local politicians to run communities by simply spending as they wish,and raising rates to cover costs is flawed. If the Government can bring in complex rules and regulations to govern the price of milk then some heavy handed restrictions need to be placed on the extortion of rates and the powers of councils.

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  3. Neil (586 comments) says:

    I think that the Christchurch City Council has got itself in a real pickle.
    Councillors who have commented publicly about the rights or wrongs of ceo Marryats position have automatically disqualified themselves from decision making.They have shown incredible naivety and ignorance for a big city council. Surely Mayor Parker had enough influence over his councillors to tell him those things. Sue Wells is an experienced councillor, surely she knows about the fact of keeping your mouth shut over employment matters.
    Personally, I think a commissioner should be called in. However, would that be appropriate considering the peculiar situation Christchurch is in after the earthquake.
    Where does Mayor Parker stand re his ceo?
    Is there something in the water in the Canterbury area what with Environment Canterbury and now Christchurch City ?

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  4. V (719 comments) says:

    @plebe
    How many are still reliant on portaloos?

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  5. plebe (271 comments) says:

    You can see why the young and stupid have moved on overseas, $000000 wage increase to a pencal pushing ceo UM A TOWN CLERK?,
    DONT BECOME DRUG DEALERS (GET INTO LOCAL GOVENMENT) THATS WHERE THE REAL MONEY IS ,lead by FBI agent John Key(fresh from his homeland Hawaii) and his USA instructions, and wait to the chinese get their way due to JOHN KEYS debts (CHINA AND THE YANKS OWN NZ) we are truly fucked, and the right love it

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  6. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    No easy answers . Before all the carry on re Marryat , and before the Sept quake , Parker was not going to get reelected..He is not a politician..He is a telly guy. Before he was ever elected , insiders said as much and said if he is elected , there will be jobs/contracts for his mates. He is as much a part of the problem as Marryat is. They are in cahoots and most people are sick of them.

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  7. plebe (271 comments) says:

    ceo Marryat, this town clerk ,can someone point out the producing company this overpaid clerk runs, its not bnz,telecom kiwiblog, not my company , CLERKS are getting upperty

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  8. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    Well it’s possible for the Government to act now without removing the Council:

    1) It’s within the power and they have grounds for Gerry to immediately remove his ban on alternative BCA consentors in the CERA area and for the DBH to remove CCC as a BCA consent authority or put them under supervision.

    2) It’s within the power of the Minister of the Environment (Nick Smith) and they have the grounds to immediately remove CCC as a RMA consent authority and impose commissioners or use alternative TLA’s.

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  9. Gulag1917 (915 comments) says:

    Inflexible laws, rules, regulations and contracts. a lot of people can be dismissed with one weeks notice.

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  10. fatnuts (160 comments) says:

    “Once an employment contract has been signed, there is no legal way to require the CEO to accept a lower salary. The council cannot legally cancel the payrise.”

    A legal opinion based on the contract, or an assumption? I would have thought the contract would have been confidential.

    Surely they would write in some release clause related to bringing the CCC into disrepute.

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  11. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    Actually Plebe, those I meet with an opinion don’t object to Mr Marryat earning a salary he had the nous to negotiate and even more do not dislike him.

    Are you simply spouting your own crap opinion without asking others theirs?

    For mine good on the man, he has a shithouse job I’m damned sure I wouldn’t want.

    DPF, you and your communist mates can keep your mitts off paradise – work on how your lot ended up with the idiot sheila instead.

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  12. trout (939 comments) says:

    For some time now Local Body employees have been able to hold Councils to ransom. The Government has tied the Councils up in so much red tape and inferred liability that the councillors are generally shit scared; they have become totally dependent on executive advice. Lawyers are called in at frequent intervals (at great expense). The whole set up is an expensive mess; much of it can be attributed to the Councils being able to embark on all sorts of non-core activities. And don’t even mention the extent of the borrowings the Councils have committed ratepayers to.

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  13. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    There is always the triumvirate – the appointee of Brownlee, the Ecan boss and last but not least a commissar replacing the city council and the town clerk in one. Last one of the three standing gets to be re-elected by the Senate.

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  14. tas (625 comments) says:

    Local politics… Groan. I can’t name a single councillor other than the mayor. I think 90% of NZers couldn’t care less about the details of local politics.

    Here is my suggestion: Abolish DHB and regional council elections and move responsibility to wellington (and to a certain extent city councils). Mayors are directly elected, but abolish council elections and simply have the local MPs act as the council.

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  15. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    Christchurch is playing right into Lianne Dalziel and Jim Anderton’s hands.

    tas
    Like it

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  16. Skippytony (16 comments) says:

    ***sigh*** Where to start. From a commercial perspective, whatever Tony Marryatt can negotiate with his employer, good luck to him. Especially when, you will recall, the same employer would not commit to a full term. That is probably the main reason he got the review he did. From a purely political perspective, yes, the optics could be a lot better, but thats what happens when amateurs run the game. As an aside, I wonder what termination clauses have been written into TM’s contract? I hope it is automatic payout for the balance of his engagement, that would really get things going, LOL.
    Most of the outrage over this is from people who have never negotiated thier own salary & and the ususal Christchurch politics of envy. Personally, I’d like Chch to have the highest paid CEO of any council in the country, so long as we were sure we had the best CEO in the country. Anyway, moving on…..
    How does Bob Parker discipline unruly councillors? What sanctions can be applied. What can be done when established conventions start being disregarded, such as how to behave when you are a minority voice and have lost the vote?

    I am sure Cr Well’s comments were thought out and a deliberate message to some of the loose cannons. She is one of the most experienced people at the table.

    I find it remarkable that a lot of people genuinely believe that we would all be better off suspending our democratic institutions and replacing them with unelected commisars. There is your old school left wing totalitarinism surfacing again for you.

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  17. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/6314541/Figures-show-Aussies-are-better-off

    “Any significant increase in wages would be unlikely unless economic conditions improved”

    Unless, you are a NZ town clerk. They earn more than their aussie counterparts and get bigger pay rises.

    Why didn’t the occupy protestors really get stuck into this issue? I suspect it is because they are largely a bunch of homeless losers.

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  18. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Like National did with Ecan Skippy – you do know what the Senate did to the last tyrant standing don’t you?

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  19. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    So what would a commissioner improve?

    Re the town clerk’s greedy pay increase – would a commissioner stop the uproar among the residents? No.

    Re the lack of communication – that is the responsibility of the town clerk so how would a commissioner affect that? Zip.

    What else? You see, fools, the councillors are only expressing the feelings of the residents. That is all. It might be fiesty at the moment, but a commissioner will change none of that. The residents will still throw stones. And they need to express themselves. Or will you send in the stormtroopers and decree that there shall be no bad-mouthing of the authorities a-la Bananarama in Fiji?

    So come on – what would a commissioner improve? Details please.

    Everyone is well aware of the corruption around Ecan and their firing – the greedy water-grabbing pricks. Maybe we should do to this national government what they have done to us – replace David Carter and Gerry Brownlee with commissioners.

    What’s the agenda Farrar? Where’s the play? You lot are dishonest and untrustworthy. Stay in Wellington.

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  20. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Marryatt is only repeating what he got away with in Hamilton City.Secret meetings and a close relationship with the Mayor and ruthless manipulation of council and the Press.
    Inflated salary, bonuses and severance pay and blowout projects like the Stadium and the V8 races.
    Hamilton gain is a Christchurch cost.

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  21. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/6315168/Cracks-in-city-confidence

    I think that David Killick has summarised the situation in Christchurch very well.

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  22. Swampy (191 comments) says:

    Hasn’t taken long for the spirit of the agreement of councillors to be breached. The Labour faction is jockeying for position.

    http://paulmcmahon.info/post/16573348090/chch-eqnz-ccc-the-mayor-bid-up-the-ceos?ref=nf

    Another public attack using information released by the council a couple of days ago about the CEO’s pay. It goes so far as to denigrate individual councillors by naming them in voting. The poster is an elected community board member.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6327913/Council-to-discuss-better-public-communication

    Don’t think you have to be too clever to work out who made this press release (the second link) even though they have chosen not to name the six councillors. Plus I would guess this agenda has already been attempted to be debated by the council before. Rather than wait for the first meeting with the observer, the six councillors have made their application to the council CEO for this meeting and put out their own press statement to the media. Time to call in the commissioner and sack the lot.

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