Councillors Want Ratepayers to Pay for Their Nannies

Northland Regional Council has voted to top up the salaries of councillors by up to $6,000 if they have childcare expenses.

The option for childcare was introduced by the Remuneration Authority after lobbying by Hurunui District Councillor and mother-of-three, Julia McLean.

However, the new allowance is purely at each council’s discretion.

Coastal central councillor Paul Dimery has said that voting against the allowance would be “totally selfish.”

“We want a more inclusive council. In my opinion, [declining the subsidy] is cutting out a fair percentage of prospective councillors. Whether mums decide to run or they don’t may well rest on this decision.”

Kaipara councillor Penny Smart said that increasing diversity on local government enabled good decision-making.

Animal Farm: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others

I hardly think that it is “good decision making” to go against gender equality. This is effectively making it more lucrative to be a female councillor doing the exact same job as a male councillor.

What about male councillors who are fathers? Are they also eligible? If not then what if they are a solo Dad? Is he going to be discriminated against because of his gender? What if he identifies as a female and therefore a mother to his children? What then?

This situation reminds me of the novel Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others. I don’t think that ratepayers are happy for their local council to cough up for a councillor’s childcare expenses; whether or not they are male or female. It’s a personal expense and should be managed privately. Councillors are not a special type of employee and female councillors are not more equal than male councillors.

These kinds of handouts, couched in the language of “diversity” and “representation” fail logically because they are totally arbitrary. Why does just one special group, in this case, mothers or possibly parents, get extra cash? All sorts of people have aspects of their private life that create unique expenses such as a long commute, an elderly dependant, or maybe a health condition.

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is calling on councils to reject the allowance.

“In very few jobs does the employer stump up for childcare. Why should politicians receive ratepayer-funded benefits very few ratepayers are afforded?” he said.

“I was brought up by a single mum on the district council before I was even school-aged. The idea that ratepayers would be responsible for hiring a nanny is entitled nonsense.”

Jordan Williams

There is a petition against what they are calling the “nanny’s charter” online.