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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern takes 20% pay cut in solidarity with other workers
15 April 2020, 13:53
New Zealand's Prime Minister and other ministers have taken a 20 per cent in solidarity with other workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The cut to pay, which have been taken voluntarily and will last six months, will take her salary from around NZ$470,000 (£225,000) to NZ$376,000 (£180,000).
Over the six months it will cost her around NZ$47,000 (£22,500).
Cabinet ministers will also take a pay cut of NZ$26,900 (£12,900) each, and deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ will take a cut by $33,473 (£16,000).
Opposition leader Simon Bridges has also taken a 20 percent pay cut.
Ms Ardern said: “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now.
"I am responsible for the executive branch and this is where we can take action … it is about showing solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.”
She added: “This was always just going to be an acknowledgement of the hit that many New Zealanders will be taking at the moment.”
New Zealand has had one of the largest successes against Covid-19, and has so far had nine deaths and 1,300 infections.
Ms Ardern made the decision to place the country on lockdown well before the country began to see vast numbers of infections already beginning.
The country is currently in the midst of a four-week lockdown, which has seen thousands of people lose their jobs.
At least 1.5 million people have signed up to the government’s wage subsidy programme to receive help with lost wages.
Currently, unemployment in the country stands at 4 per cent, although the Treasury has warned that a worst-case scenario could see this rise to 25 per cent.