New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern takes pay cut in solidarity with those struggling financially

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take a personal pay cut over the next six months as her country faces economic hardship.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern is taking a personal pay cut in solidarity with her fellow citizens Source: NZ PMO

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Wednesday 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 see Ms Ardern's annual pay fall from around NZ$470,000 (A$445,000) to NZ$376,000, costing her about NZ$47,000 over the six-month period.

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

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

When asked where Australian members of parliament would follow Ms Ardern's lead, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told journalists, "as you know, we have frozen the pay increases for politicians here and for public servants."

No pay cuts for New Zealand public service

Ms Ardern 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 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on a visit to Sydney in February 2020
Source: AAP

New Zealand is in the midst of a four-week COVID-19 lockdown that has paralysed the economy, with thousands of job losses already announced.

Economic modelling released by the Treasury department this week predicted unemployment - currently about 4.0 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."

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said that he would also take a 20 per cent pay cut.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus


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Published 15 April 2020 at 4:31pm
Source: AFP - SBS