Nelson Councillor wants a cyclist tax

Nelson Councillor & Police Officer Eric Davy said he would be happy to see a cycle allowance (for remuneration) introduced alongside the introduction of a cyclist tax.


If Nelson city councillors were paid by the minute, they wouldn't have done too badly out of their discussion on their pay.

It generated the biggest response out of any items on the agenda at their meeting last week.

A staff recommendation that councillors adopt an annual salary payment system drew comments on whether it was the fairest pay method.

Councillor Ian Barker said there had been past examples where councillors had poor meeting attendance records. Salaries ran the risk of being abused in that way.

Chief executive Keith Marshall said most local authorities had moved away from paying meeting allowances because it was so difficult to predict at the start of the year how many meetings would be required. The pool of money often ran out by about March.

Usually, councils are asked to adopt a remuneration system before the start of the financial year, but it has been done again now because of the recent elections. Using the pool of money available, seven councillors will receive an annual salary of $29,850, while the deputy mayor and portfolio holders will get $37,350. The mayor's salary of $103,900, excluding an adjustment for his use of the mayoral car, comes from a separate pool.

Councillor Derek Shaw suggested the council put its decision on hold pending further decisions on how the council will be structured. Remuneration should reflect workloads and it was too soon to tell the shape of those, he said.

Councillor Pete Rainey expressed concern that the Remunerations Authority had dropped the communications allowance from $1800 a year to just $500.

Councillor Mike Ward suggested the council lobby the Remuneration Authority to introduce a cycle allowance, like the vehicle allowance, only it would equate to much less because cyclists don't travel so far.

Councillor Eric Davy said he would be happy to see a cycle allowance introduced alongside the introduction of a cyclist tax. Little would be achieved by waiting three months to discuss workloads. "It's just a minefield and a waste of council time to be sucking in that detail."

Councillor Gail Collingwood said it was better to get on with the job and divvy up the money the best way possible. "We're not here for the money, we're here for the love - and not the love of each other, I'm sure."

Councillors adopted the recommendation, but also decided to urge the Remunerations Authority to lift its communications allowance back to $150 a month.


Erm, the vehicle allowances come from rates, not petrol taxes? So why would you need a cyclist tax to pay for a similar cyclist allowance?

I'd also dispute whether a cycling Councillor would necessarily travel any less than a motoring one (presumably they still live at the same place?) but the allowance rate/km would be less because the running costs for a bike are much less (but not zero).