Payments for hearings
Elected members can be paid for work on some types of hearings.
Types of hearings
Elected members are entitled to receive additional payments in addition to their annual remuneration for:
- resource consent hearings under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA),
- resource consent hearings under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 (HASHA),
- District Plan hearings, and
- Regional Plan and Regional Policy Statement hearings.
The Authority does not have any jurisdiction over fees related to alcohol licensing hearings.
The hourly rate paid is to be decided by the council up to:
- $80 an hour for a hearing member, and
- $100 an hour for a hearing chair.
There is no annual cap on the payment of fees for these hearings.
These fees are not part of the governance remuneration pool for councillors’ remuneration and positions of additional responsibility.
Councils must include their hearings fees in their individual expense and reimbursement policy.
Councillors are paid for the time preparing for the hearing. Preparation time may include time for reading, attending onsite meetings, or attending pre-hearing briefings and meetings.
Reimbursement should not exceed the length of time of the hearing. For example, if a hearing lasts for three hours then no more than three hours of preparation time may be paid.
Preparation time is paid at the same rate as attending hearings. The chair of a hearing may also be paid for time spent writing up the decision or communicating for the purposed of the written decision.
Eligibility for resource consent hearing payments
There are different eligibility rules for Council Hearings Committee Chairs, and mayors or regional chairs.
Chairing a Hearings Committee
Council Hearings Committee Chairs are paid for resource consent hearings in addition to what they are paid as chair.
Mayors and regional chairs
Mayors and regional chairs cannot receive fees for participating in resource consent hearings.
Fees might be considered in exceptional circumstances if:
- there is a shortage of experienced hearing commissioners on the council, and
- there is a significant hearing of a lengthy duration, which would create undue time pressure on the mayor or chair.
In such circumstances, no fees should be paid without seeking prior approval from the Remuneration Authority.