Back to the future

The Dom Post reports:

It has been 27 years since Sir last donned the mayoral chains – but the octogenarian is back for another tilt at .

Promising not to be “a nuisance to anybody this time”, the 80-year-old artist and former architect is standing for the city’s Lambton ward.

“Actually, I thought about standing for mayor but my son would not let me. He’s right, of course. I’ve been there, done that and I know what it’s like … But he’s let me have a go as a councillor.”

Sir Michael served on the council for 15 years from 1968 – the last nine as mayor. He was credited by many for modernising central Wellington but criticised by others for overseeing the demolition of many historic buildings.

Sir Michael was one of the outstanding Mayors of Wellington. I am however unsure about how well he would fit in, being just an ordinary Councillor – and 27 years after he left Council.

Being in Lambton Ward, I’m going to have some hard choices. The candidates are:

  • John Bishop
  • Stephanie Cook
  • Adam Cunningham
  • Michael Fowler
  • Marcus Ganley
  • Mark Greening
  • Ian McKinnon
  • Iona Katherine Mary Pannett
  • Kris Price

I’m definitely supporting John Bishop and Ian McKinnon. Stephanie Cook and Iona Pannett are both conscientious Councillors – even through their politics are not mine (they are Green). And a couple of the other challengers are quite decent also. Plus you have Sir Michael.

Back to the Dom Post article:


Wellington’s mayor was paid $31,200 per year, of which $6000 was tax-free.

Councillors were paid $29 per meeting, to a maximum of $2320 per year.

Average rates bill was $400.


Wellington’s mayor is paid $153,660 a year and the deputy mayor $107,615.

Councillors are paid between $69,240 and $88,409, depending on their responsibilities.

The rates bill on an average home is around $2000.

Inflation over the 27 years has been 192%. The CPI went from 276 to 1100. If one takes that into account, the increases in real terms per year have been:

  • Mayoral Salary – 2.5%
  • Rates – 2.6%
  • Councillor Salary – 34.1%

This reflects a belief I have long had – that Councillors went from being a part-time role to full-time jobs – and I think this has been a bad thing. I think it was better when Councillors were part-time Governors – like company directors. Instead too many are now professional politicians.

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