Jacinda Ardern has announced all Government ministers and public service chief executives in New Zealand will take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ardern says the pay cut is about showing leadership and a reflection of what has already been happening in the private sector during the COVID-19 crisis.
During a press conference on Wednesday, she said, “we acknowledge New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking pay cuts and losing their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s global pandemic.”
“We feel acutely the struggle many New Zealanders are facing and so too do the people that I work with on a daily basis.”
Ardern acknowledged the pay cuts will not have a significant impact on the New Zealand government’s fiscal position, but for her and her ministers, it is about leadership.
“I absolutely accept that this is not going to change the government books,” Ardern said.
“But for us it was about leadership. A lot of people are taking a huge hit right now. I do not want the people who feel that to be the people on the front line, our lower and middle income earners. It should be about leadership and that means the people at the top.”
“If there was ever a time to close the gap between different positions, it’s now,” the Prime Minister said. “This is where we can take action which is why we have.”
Ardern said she gave Opposition Leader Simon Bridges, leader of the National Party, a heads-up about the decision. He has since indicated he will be following her lead.
Also today, Ardern has responded to landlords who are increasing rent in New Zealand during lockdown, telling reporters it is “utterly unfathomable”.
“Be a good citizen, just be a good human being,” she said.