Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

New Zealand PM takes paycut in symbolic coronavirus gesture

Ms Ardern said her pay cut was a small contribution to a nation facing high unemployment

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking a 20 per cent pay cut. Getty
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking a 20 per cent pay cut. Getty

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will take a 20 per cent pay cut in a symbolic act of solidarity with people struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Ardern said her personal salary, those of her fellow ministers and of top public servants would be slashed by a fifth for six months.

The move will mean the prime minister's annual pay will fall from about NZ$470,000 (Dh1 million) to NZ$376,000 (Dh837,000).

"While it in itself won't shift the government's overall fiscal position, it is about leadership," she said.

"This was always just going to be an acknowledgement of the hit that many New Zealanders will be taking at the moment."

The centre-left leader said the cut would not be implemented across the public service.

"Many people in our public sector are frontline essential workers – nurses, police, healthcare professionals," Ms Ardern said.

"We are not suggesting pay cuts here, nor would New Zealanders find that appropriate."

New Zealand is in the middle of a four-week Covid-19 lockdown that has paralysed the economy, with thousands of jobs losses already announced.

Economic modelling released by the country's Treasury this week predicted unemployment, currently about four per cent, could soar to almost 26 per cent in a worst-case scenario.

Ms Ardern said her wage cut was a small contribution to easing pay inequalities in society.

"If ever there was a time to close the gap between different positions, it's now," she said.

"This is where we can take action which is why we have."

Updated: April 15, 2020 10:57 AM

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